Sandra Charles

December 23, 2020

Sandra Charles is an oil painter residing in Louisville, KY. Her work revolves around the portrayal of African American women. She uses striking color and subtle historical symbolism to illustrate the removal of the hegemonic veil that separates true identity from misconceptions and the perceived social order, as well as to inspire self-confidence and empowerment. Images of her work have appeared in several magazines and books. She began her career working as a batik fiber artist, then later returned to school and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Louisville in 2015. She retired in 2016 and is now working full-time as an artist.

Sandra has five pieces in the Call and Response exhibit. Her work is also featured in the Conversations exhibit.

I Can’t
48″ x 60″ | Oil on canvas

This painting is from “The Wall” series.  It’s a statement on the social injustice in America with a direct reference to the Breonna Taylor case.   The mirror sunglasses reflect a sad truth of American society.  The images of Breonna along with the mask of the pandemic addresses the frustrations many African Americans feel due to the  lack of changes over the years.  The painting emphasizes the light of injustice shines so bright it sears a shadow on the wall behind the figure.  The wall where the old facades are beginning to fall apart.

30″ x 30″ | Oil on Canvase

This painting is from the “Portrait of Us” series. It represents the inner strength and attitude young African American girls present to the world.  It is at this age social injustices are noticed.  The response grows into inner an inner strength which sometimes may reside behind artificial façade.  In this painting the façade is represented by the sunglasses. 

Shanna’s Wrap
30″ x 30″ | Oil on Canvas

This painting is the second piece from my “Hair” series.  It represents the African American head wrap tradition.  A tradition that had a negative connotation during slavery but embraced during the 20th century to become a beloved attire.  As the the knowledge of our legacy grew, old western ideas begin to break down and acceptance of who we are begins to grow. This clash between western and black culture is represented in the painting with a play on Jan van Eyck’s Portrait of Man.

30″ x 30″ | Oil on Canvas

This painting is from my “Portrait of Us” series.  It represents the Women in the traditional African American Churches.  Crowned with their Sunday Hats they were and remain the backbone of the church which is the cornerstone of the African American community.  

Fourth of July
36″ x 48″ | Oil on Canvas

This painting is from my “children” series.  In this painting a young African American young girl celebrating the Fourth of July by holding the flag and sitting in front of a closed door.  The painting addresses both the trials of the past and optimism for the future.