Black Art at Night: Kordeena Clayton

I'thandi Munro
Posted on February 10th, 2021
by I'thandi Munro

It's me, I'thandi, I'm featuring another inspiring Black artist.

Having a connection to Black Community is an important part of feeling supported–you want to feel like you have a sense of belonging and a place to be. For Kordeena Clayton she finds growth and inspiration from experiences that may be challenging, fearful, or have beauty. Through the determination to use creation to "find herself", Clayton also uplifts, and liberates those around her.

Clayton is the creator of She Nubian Liberation. Her work and apparel are based on the importance of representation. She focuses on exploring the beautiful diversity of Black and Brown people, and in doing so empowers those that have the privilege of experiencing it. This came to fruition to help one of her daughters embrace her dark complexity, and gain pride and confidence in who she is.

Black Hair Magic, Kordeen Clayton (She Nubian Liberation)
Black Hair Magic installation/exhibition at Nocturne 2018: Nomadic Reciprocity, Kordeen Clayton (She Nubian Liberation) (photo by Mike Hall)

Clayton has also been organizing Black vendors markets since 2016. In 2020 she founded, along side Bria Miller, #Taking BLK Gottingen; a grass roots vendors market for Black creators that takes place on Gottingen Street in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. They have now expanded into the Taking BLK History Market, which is being hosted by The Halifax Brewery Market at the end of this month. Both of these current locations used to be thriving economic channels for Black Nova Scotians, but through gentrification, have been stolen, lost, and pushed aside. There is a "Lack of Black business/entrepreneurial representation in the community, specifically Gottingen Street. It used to be lively with Black owned family businesses, that's where you'd feel the utmost community." Clayton knows there is a need "to bring Black/African Nova Scotia businesses together to reclaim that feeling again". By Re-establishing these channels, it will have a huge impact on those who cannot afford a storefront, pay for a kiosk, rent a booth or a table at other markets. This free market provides the opportunity for Black entrepreneurs to have the space to establish their business among their peers, and supporters, and gain new customers.

Clayton presented BLACK HAIR MAGIC at Nocturne in 2018: Nomadic Reciprocity curated by Raven Davis. This exhibit focused on black hair; the styles, the textures, the colors, the stories. The importance of this project and the series of artworks was to shine a light on the versatility and stories behind styled black hair.

During Nocturne 2019: Scaffold, Curated by Tori Flemming, Clayton collaborated with her partner, Kate Macdonald on the project, 33, which explored a spiritual, dimensional, and physical connection through abstract photography.

33, Kordeena Clayton and Kate MacDonald
33, Kordeena Clayton and Kate MacDonald installation at Nocturne 2019: Scaffold (photo by Kylee Nunn)

Recently, she made a big move to focus on her business full time, leaving a full-time job to bring the same liberation she has given herself, to a wider audience.

you can find her on Instagram at @she.nubian and on Facebook at She Nubian Liberation