Daphne Burgess was born and raised in Sacramento, CA. For the past twenty-five years, she  has blended her passion for art with her desire for community building. Burgess is committed  to increasing access to experiences that encourage interaction and learning. Her background as  an arts educator allowed her to teach art through non-profit service organizations, libraries,  community centers, and schools. She believes that art plays an intentional role in the  development of both people and communities by fostering relationships that transform spaces,  promote advocacy, and encourage cross-sector partnerships. As the former Community  Engagement Coordinator for Crocker Art Museum, she focused on participatory experiences  that brought the museum and communities together to increase access to art.

Since moving to Alabama in 2019 and opening Gallery 157 in 2020, her goal has been to explore  her own artistic development while continuing to support equitable access to art-making in  rural communities through free resources that support creativity. Burgess is currently a  consultant for the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum to support youth programming  and placemaking through the arts.

As a professional fine artist, her artwork primarily consists of paintings, sculptures, ceramics,  mixed media, and installations, as she lets storytelling guide the media that she integrates into  her art practice. Her early work showed a more traditional style, focused on representational  figures. Her series of portraits and personified musical instruments indicate a shift to more  abstract figures using bold colors and whimsical imagery. Her more recent work shows  influences of her time in the South, highlighting African American culture through a mix of  materials and cultural artifacts to show connections to people and places of the past and how  those relationships continue to influence the present. Burgess incorporates this unique  combination of materials and imagery to encourage reflection and add nostalgia. Through this,  she hopes to inspire others to find a piece of themselves. She looks forward to participating in this IKEA initiative with a chair painted to resemble the textile that she has been incorporating into her work for many years-mud cloth.  Like the fabric patterns that are seen in her quilt paintings, the history of mud cloth also tells the story of ingenuity, creativity, and cultural connections.

Artist Statement

I often incorporate textiles in my work by painting the designs that appear on fabric. Though the works that inspire my creations are made of various materials from cotton fabric to burlap, I want to challenge myself to re-imagine the material by replicating it in other ways such as painting, mixed media assemblage, or fused glass.

I am continuously looking for connections between materials and subject matter. I use quilt patterns, for example, to show a connection to my grandmothers and celebrate the art form of quilting itself. I incorporate patterns that are linked to memories and help me to communicate themes related to the Black family and the broader African diaspora. For this project, I chose to use mud cloth as a way to convey deep cultural bonds, whether they are tied to the meanings of colors, the feel of the texture, or the symbols that are integrated into the patterns and overall design. There is a warmth and comfort that I feel in painting images of textiles that, to me, is just as real as using the fabrics themselves.