From her sculptural ceramic tiles and vessels to mixed media paintings to handwoven rugs, Malene continues to evolve her craft and share her African heritage with a global audience. Using natural materials like the finest wools, silks, pastels and clay, she uncovers a deeper language of her legacy and an authentic understanding of her cultural identity. A passionate connector and expert ambassador, her mission is to use art as a tool to create community impact and open doors for the next generation of black artists and expand the conversation around marginalization in the arts and create greater opportunities for inclusion.
As the founder of the Black Artists + Designers Guild, a global platform and curated collective of independent black artists, makers, and designers, Malene is always seeking new ways to define the black narrative and experience for a new generation while bringing awareness to inequality. She’s also on the board for CERF+, an organization that provides emergency loans to artisans and craftspeople during natural disasters.
My art pays homage to my ancestors. I’m inspired by local potters, textile weavers and woodcarvers. Their dedication to both craft and purpose, keep cultural traditions alive and have created legacies that continue to drive me to push storytelling through my works in clay. My connection to clay is a spiritual one. Unlike other mediums I’ve used in the past, clay is flexible in both surface and form. My finished pieces have traces of my fingerprints and this allows you to follow the making-process.