When you look around and you see no one else that looks like you, a few thoughts come racing through your mind: “I’m literally the only black person here.” “I’m essentially representing an entire race by myself right now.” “How I’m perceived actually matters in here today.” “I wonder how long it’s gonna take for someone to comment on my hair.”

I start to feel a little off. Me being a ‘sociable introvert’ can typically be a mind fuck. I love to meet people and do interesting things with them, but I’m also incredibly ‘in my head’ and often nervous and shy in new situations. But outwardly, that means I have a ‘resting bitch face’ further perpetuating that ‘angry black woman’ stereotype. 

After I relax a bit, I get involved. Something happens then. I begin to interact naturally and freely. My confidence shows. I present all 5 foot 10 inches of my brown skin with pride. My smile is etching its way into their minds, and theirs into mine as I’m becoming more familiar with them. My one liners flow and humour grows - ‘sass’ I think they call it. Black girl sass. 

Bold. Brazen. Audacity. Shine. Big Hair. No hair. Height. Strength. Curves. Volume. Space. Melanin. Face. 

Some of us have more, some of us have less. Intimidating to some, but to me, it’s all beautiful. It’s actually artful.  

With every situation I find myself in, and for every year I grow older, I’ve come to recognise that whatever people think of me is none of my business. Might as well be bold, be brave, and why not feel beautiful while I’m at it?

It’s my business and I’ve made it my duty to continue to share the beautiful things people are out here creating from what they’ve got. That part of themselves they’ve chosen to represent artistically and visually. When I came up with Dark Yellow Dot, I envisioned it as a safe space where all kinds of people can share that artistic part of themselves - whether that be body, culture, state of mind, interests... A space where ‘other’ and ‘odd’ is unified and understood, and if not understood, then talked about. 

One of the reasons I love working on projects with Theatre Deli and why I chose these walls for the BOLD exhibition is because they also are about creating a safe space for artistic expression and they recognise my passion and capabilities to do so too. 

Black History Month, for some it’s a month, for us it’s a lifetime of celebrating black excellence and wins. In this showcase of recent, famous, unfamiliar and self portraits, the BOLD exhibition will highlight the artwork of 10 emerging young black artists living in the UK, including myself with the piece ‘Not Hiding’ which is an analogue collage based on the idea of what it means to be bold. The open evening itself will be a bold statement as we’ll be including WOKE, a platform for BAME performing artists, with a line up of young London talent.

- Lauren Little

Founder, Dark Yellow Dot

View BOLD from 7th of October until 30th October.

And join our open evening 9th of October at 7pm.