Art Hoe Collective's Mars + Amandla Stenberg Chat With Lorna Simpson

For Tate Modern

Lorna Simpson has been one of the most influential figures in the contemporary art movement. Her work, from her infamous "'94 Wigs (Portfolio)" piece to her silk-screen photographs and installations, has helped to capture the black female experience in America for decades. While relatively new, there's no doubting that Art Hoe Collective is also changing the artistic landscape by providing a space for queer people of color to showcase their art. For their latest short, Tate Modern paired the two together to discuss the power of art and expression, especially in its relation to marginalized identity.

Art Hoe's co-founders, Mars and Amandla Stenberg, met up with Simpson in Brooklyn, New York, to share their motivations and philosophies. "We realized that the work of people of color has been institutionally excluded, and so we felt like we wanted to have a space where kids felt comfortable sharing their artwork," says Stenberg. "It's kind of become this movement of self-acceptance and self-love as artwork." As Simpson adds, "Also, freedom of expression." 

Speaking of social media's new role as a provider of a platform and space, Simpson says, "It can create this forum for particularly young people to take seriously their efforts in terms of thinking about what they want to do artistically." 

They also speak about their processes and inspirations. "When I get up in the morning and I look in the mirror, I don't look at black content. I'm just looking at myself," says Simpson. "I should be given the kind of freedom of the universality of who I choose to be in my work, or how I choose to present it as it also being a universal form." And when Mars mentions the autobiographical perception others have when viewing works by non-binary people of color, Simpson addresses it while saying that the work they both create speaks to broad humanity.

Watch their conversation above.