Creating Our Next LA, 2021

by Domique Moody for We Rise & LA Commons

About the Project

South Central Los Angeles represents one of the areas in Los Angeles hardest hit by COVID-19. In light of the challenges of the past year, the four South L.A. neighborhoods of Hyde Park, Leimert Park Village, Exposition Park and Willowbrook are featured in a collaborative art project titled, Creating Our Next LA, led by artist Dominique Moody. Each of these communities hosted online story circles in March and April, organized by local high school and college students. The process documented the narratives of residents in their neighborhoods, and how they envision their community now and in the future. Having lived through the acute impact of the pandemic, discussions addressed the collective and personal impacts on our mental health.

The narratives from these story circles were shared with eight local visual artists—from portrait painters to muralists—who collaborated with lead artist Dominique Moody, the project photographer and poet to create multi-layered, multi-dimensional life-sized portraits inspired by the storytellers. Fabricated for an outdoor public setting, the community artworks are located in the respective communities in which the storytellers reside, and with the full series on view outside of the California African American Museum. These sites present a total of sixteen artworks in public spaces on view during the month of May.

Additional project credits:
Lead Artist: Director Dominique Moody
Participating Artists: Moses Ball, Dezmond Crockett, Noni Olabisi, Brittney Price, Amani Holbert, Kayla Shelton and Floyd Strickland
Poet: S. Pearl Sharp
Photography: Halline Overby
Art Tech support: Marina Scott and Khari Scott
Art Subjects: Robbye, Kareem, Marie, Sequoia, Minna , Luna, Rose and George

The Art

The Subjects

While being instructed by Dominique Moody, the assignment was to deliver extreme closeup portraits with both hard lighting and diffused lighting. In the editing process, I was asked to deliver both color edits and black and white edits. Below I show examples of color, black and white, diffused and hard lighting.

Robbye (View Park)

Kareem (View Park)

Marie (Leimert Park)

Sequoia (Leimert Park)

George (Willowbrook)

Rose (Willowbrook)