Endia Beal is a North Carolina based artist, educator and activist, who is internationally known for her photographic narratives and video testimonies that examine the personal, yet contemporary stories of marginalized communities and individuals. Beal currently serves as the Interim Director of Diggs Gallery at Winston-‐Salem State University.
Beal is featured in several online editorials including NBC, BET, the Huffington Post, Slate, and the National Geographic. She also appeared in Essence and Marie Claire Magazine. Her work has been exhibited in several institutions such as the Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit, Michigan, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-‐ American Art + Culture based in Charlotte, NC, the Aperture Foundation of New York, and the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.
In 2013, Beal graduated from Yale School of Art, with a Master of Fine Arts in Photography. While attending Yale, she created a body of work that explores the relationship of minority women within the corporate space. Her work was fully developed during the artist-‐in-‐residence program at the Center for Photography at Woodstock. Beal aligns herself with artists such as Carrie Mae Weems and Lorna Simpson, who use stories as the vehicle to question conformity and gender norms.
How would you describe your style of photography?
My vision is to document the lives of the invisible. The invisible are those whose voices are drowned by society’s attempts to maintain normalcy through figurative castration of marginalized groups. As a minority, I too share the mark of the unknown. I find comfort in uncomfortable situations. My artistic journey lends itself to unorthodox circumstances where I ask questions like, “What’s really going on here?” and “Why are these experiences not showcased in the art world?” I will show others through the energy of my work that coming from a place that is foreign to many, does not mean you cannot radiate.
Can you share the backstories behind these two photos?
In my most recent video, entitled “The Office“, I speak about an experience that is personal, yet universal to many women of color working within the corporate space. A rumor circulated at work that my thick, kinky Afro and ethnic hairstyles fascinated my white male colleagues. These men were curious about how my hair felt and wanted to touch it. I developed a piece that explores the thin line between personal and private within the workspace. With the melody of spoken word, I transform into a voyeuristic actress fulfilling the desires of my male colleagues. However, the viewer is left with their imaginations as the tentative voices of the men discuss conflicted feelings of touching me within a very corporate office setting.
The video, 9 to 5 is a narrative comprised of real interviews given by minority women about their personal experiences with prejudice and racism within the corporate space. Each woman participated in a 5 minute video interview. The similarities between their stories were remarkable and formed the baseline of the narrative. Together, these women become one voice.
What are your dreams as a photographer?
My dream as an artist is to create work that opens our minds to the unheard and unseen experiences of minority individuals. I am interested in using the minority experience as a vehicle to speak about universal truths that connect us all.
More on Endia Beal
As a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008, Beal earned a dual bachelor’s degree in Art History and Studio Art. During her undergraduate studies, she attended the Studio Art Center International in Florence, Italy focusing on High Renaissance Art History and the romance languages of the Italian culture. Following graduation, Beal was one of four women nationally selected to participate in ArtTable, a program designed to promote women in the visual arts. Representing the Washington, D.C. district, she assisted in the curation of the Andy Warhol Exhibit at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery of George Washington University.
Beal used this experience as a platform to advocate for minority opportunities within the arts. She was instrumental in creating marketing campaigns that redefined the way minority communities interact with art.
Her work experience includes the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology, and The New York Times Magazine.
The “Snapshot” series are mini interviews with fellow black travel photographers to inspire others and myself. As I’ve navigated the world of travel photography over the last few years, I’ve found very few fellow photographers of color who are also doing this professionally with a heavy focus on travel documentary. So this inspirational resource of professional travel photographers of color is a way for people to always find us. Please get in touch if you’d like to be featured or know of others to feature.