Alyssa Iferenta is a naturalistic portraiture artist based between Boston, MA, USA and Nassau, The Bahamas. Her career as an artist began in earnest in 2020 when she began the “Statement of Nature” series that explores Black Bahamian womanhood and its intersections with nature. She was selected as an influencer in the Uno Pick 4 Challenge during 2020 and featured on the cover of the inaugural issue of Culture Icon Magazine in 2021.  


The Statement of Nature series is a reflection upon the similarities between the ongoing societal quest to contain women --especially Black Bahamian women-- and the natural environment. While the primary themes --are growth and grooming-- are realized in all the pieces, some are more salient in some works. The message of growth is a negotiation between the evolution of old traditions and ideologies with an appreciation of Blackness. Specifically, there is a conversation about what it means to experience adolescence to adulthood in the Black female body. Grooming tackles Black haircare and the unapologetic afro while addressing the ways that new ideas provide an opportunity to redefine one’s own reality

When did you first begin creating art?

As a child, I went to painting, pottery, and drawing classes, so I guess that I have been making art since I was roughly nine years old. However, I took an extended hiatus during university and returned to myself during 2020.

When did you first consider yourself to be an artist?

Hard question. It took a long time for me to see myself as an artist because I did not initially identify my work as art. Throughout 2020, I experienced a series of self-revelations as I engaged critically with mental and physical self-care, and my Statement of Nature series was a by-product of that journey. My ramblings and stream-of-consciousness recollections to friends served as poor vessels to convey my thoughts, but as the adage goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Originally, I considered my work as "experimental crafts" that could be appreciated by my friends as substitute for abstract conversations.

As a direct answer to the question, I started considering myself an artist when I sold my first framed print. During the framing and sale process, I reflected upon the following Ken Moody quote, "It didn't even occur to me that I might be attractive, or that I might be something that somebody would want to look at, or would want to photograph. And so when it happened, I thought, 'Well, gee, isn't this a good way for me to at least get to see what I look like.'"  

Who or what influences your practice?

Junkanoo inspires me both as an independent Bahamian cultural entity and as a relative within the family of African diasporic aesthetic and religious traditions. Early in my artistic reawakening, a friend introduced me to Kehinde Wiley, through whom I began to engage further with portraiture. Aimé Césaire and the Négritude movement more broadly also continue to expand, Africanize, and decolonize my worldview, which informs the theme of African Humanism and the inversion of white supremacist value systems. Lastly, I often draw inspiration from the poetics of DAMN by Kendrick Lamar, Lemonade by Béyonce, and Græ by Moses Sumney.  

Tell us about a specific moment in your career that you would consider a turning point.

My feature on the cover of Culture Icon magazine was a serious turning point in my career. Until that point, I had sold a few prints and received a lot of social media support, but I still struggled to internalize the value of my work. When it came out that my work was featured on the cover, I truly felt like I had surprised myself and started taking myself more seriously as an artist.