Devynity Wray, Royalty, 2020, Pastel (Archival Print on Canvas), 18×24 inches
Informed by the historic invisibility of Black people in American contemporary spaces, my current practice endeavors to give voice to a deafening silence, a ravenous roar. Ever an evolving work, my process is an aesthetic representation of the legacy of my heritage – rendered in figurative form and punctuated by collage. Decontextualized archetypes comprise the fodder for my compositions debunking monolithic notions of Blackness and womanhood. My work exhumes buried pasts to uncover untold stories and imagine futures yet to be articulated. Honing the mediums of pencil, oil, watercolor, collage on paper and canvas while investigating how to include written work and sonic elements to solidify a multidisciplinary dialogue in my work is how I am presently engaged.
Devynity Wray is a visual artist and writer from Queens, NY whose work makes the trajectory of the African diasporic heritage, experience and legacy prominent. Ever inquisitive about history and how human ecosystems interact with one another, Wray’s work is an excavation of Blackness steeped in the wealth of knowledge the artist has acquired from her love of African literature and Hip-Hop music. Enamored with art at an early age, Wray attended F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and the Performing Arts where she studied as an art major. As a writer, Wray earned her chops on New York’s slam poetry scene making the Nuyorican Poet’s Café her stomping ground. She was a Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam Finalist and team member in 2002. Her team went on to rank 3rd that year in the National Poetry Slam Competition held annually among teams from all across the country. She received her BA in Africana, Puerto-Rican and Latino Studies from the City University of New York’s Hunter College in 2007. In 2008, she was invited to perform her words at the Essence Cares portion of the Essence Music Festival by Susan Taylor. One of her poems, “Black Gurl Manifesto”, was published in Hill Harper’s bestselling book, Letters to a Young Sister in 2008. She is a Cambridge Writer’s Workshop alumna having completed their intensive retreat held in Granada, Spain in 2018. She was awarded an Artworks, Inc. fellowship by Jamaica Arts Learning Center in partnership with the Jerome Foundation in 2019. Wray has an MFA from Lesley University