Clara Nartey is a self-taught artist, born in Ghana, now living in West Haven, Connecticut.

Through her art, she tells stories of the Black experience in the United States, in Africa, and in the diaspora at large. Her work questions societal standards of beauty and its expectations of women; especially Black women.

Nartey’s work has been shown in several exhibits and featured in multiple publications including Art Forum, and Stampington & Co. She invites viewers to see her portraits just as they see themselves, their families and their loved ones - as people deserving of love, dignity, and respect.

What is one thing you’d like our readers to know about you?

Hmm that’s a good question. I’ll say that I’m both sides of the same coin. For example, I’m a dreamer who’s always coming up with a ton of ideas, but I’m a doer as well. I’m constantly creating one new work after the other. I’m a frequent smiler, but I tear up very easily. I love dressing up in pretty high heel shoes, but I walk around barefoot at home. What can I say? :-)  

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

My heritage is my biggest source of inspiration. I grew up surrounded by lots of color and a culture that cherishes fabrics. I’m inspired by how fabrics are used in my African heritage to tell stories, to memorialize events, and to share words of wisdom.

Why do you create and how has your art practice affected your life?

I create because it gives me joy and a sense of fulfillment. Creating allows me to express myself in ways that I’m unable to do otherwise. The effect my art practice has had on my life is that it’s given me a voice, which I didn’t think I had before. It’s given me the opportunity to speak for women and question the restrictive societal standards of beauty that girls and women are expected to live up to. Art has opened up a new world of friends and a supportive community to me.