Posts tagged: Erika Massaquoi

Happy for Her, Sad for Us

By , April 20, 2012 6:41 pm

Today was Dr. Erika Massaquoi’s last day at FIT. Our Assistant Dean is relocating to the West Coast shortly.  We will miss her.

A last look

Dean Arbuckle, Emma Richman, Erika Massaquoi, Kim Loconto, Rachel Ellner, Amy Bauer (photo: Deborah Klesenski)

Parting shot


Photos: Rachel Ellner


The best review of all

By , January 25, 2012 5:48 pm

It was announced today that Graphic Design student, Malik Moore, is the winner of the National Portfolio Day Association poster contest.  Malik’s design will appear on posters announcing Portfolio Day in high schools and community colleges across the country.

When the vote came for which designs to submit on from FIT, Assistant Dean Dr. Erika Masaquoi said she felt pulled to Malik’s work. “I said ‘This is very smart. It’s of the moment. It’s fresh.’ The design is a bit edgy. It has goth and urban couture elements that are really in trend right now. ”

Malik Moore's winning design

Malik will receive a $500  honorarium. His design will be on display in thousands of high schools and community colleges in the US and Canada.

National Portfolio Day sponsors events for visual artists and designers who wish to pursue an education in the visual and related arts.   At these events,  prospective students can meet with representatives from colleges accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Dean’s Dialogue: Posing Beauty in African American Portraits: A Talk by Dr. Deborah Willis February 8, 2011

By , March 16, 2011 5:12 pm

Dr. Deborah Willis, MacArthur fellow and chair of New York University’s photography department

“I was a student in the 70s,” said Willis in her opening remarks to the attendees of “Posing Beauty,” a Dean’s Dialogue hosted by the School of Art & Design. “I asked my professor ‘Where are the other images,’” of African Americans? “There were (those of) tenant farmers, of laborers and that’s fine.” But the range of images of African American life was woefully incomplete.  Willis had a “curiosity of the lack of images of blacks.”  Her professor suggested she search out photos that might tell a larger story.

Deborah Willis's 2009 book cover "Posing Beauty"

Her book, “Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present,” is another turn in her investigation.  “I found myself as a resource…I grew up in a beauty shop.  The images for me are to open up the dialog– Sometimes an image is a story of desire, other times it’s a woman seeking the American Dream,” said Willis.

Pickin, by Lauren Kelley

Willis is observant of “how women are always under surveillance…I’m always asking ‘How are these images used?’”

Among the photographs Willis showed were:  a posting of run-away slave described as “rather good looking”; cinema stars like Josephine Baker; various looks of women working outside the home; studio portraits; and iconic shots of Issac Hayes, Malcolm X, Pam Grier and James Brown.

Isaac Hayes by Ernest Withers

“Black beauty has been silenced,” said Willis. “Special issues (on African- American life) gives the public an opportunity for exchange,” she said “but I wish it didn’t have to be a special issue.”

Harlem Queen, by Lewis Watts

“What I took away from this,” said fashion design student Michelle Richards, “is that when she was a student she asked:  ‘Where are the black photographers and photographs?’ Too often students accept the lesson as fact rather than as an introduction, and then you take it further. This whole thing started as a research project. She took the initiative and researched the gap in her education.”

Assistant Dean Dr. Erika Massaquoi with guest speaker Dr. Deborah Willis


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