The Power of Black Joy, an interview with artist Ariel Dannielle

Jen Torwudzo-Stroh, Sixty Inches From Center, December 28, 2021

In 2019 Megan Thee Stallion iconically gave us the term Hot Girl Summer. A year later the saying would become more than a song lyric and trending topic but a whole mood emblematic of the world we desperately wanted post-pandemic. Painter Ariel Dannielle uses the beauty in Black femininity to memorialize the explosion of joy that came the summer after lockdown. The show We Outside at Monique Meloche Gallery is an ode to Black women, the ones who start the trends with their multicolored hair, laid edges, and stiletto nails, the modern party girl, and survivor of a pandemic. In her five canvases, she vibrantly depicts those Black women in all shapes and shades unencumbered and unabashedly happy.


I loved every inch of the exhibition. So much so that I had to get in touch with the artist. A few days before Thanksgiving Ariel and I had an easy conversation about working in art, working with friends, sexuality as self-love, and the simple joy of Blackness.