Zendaya will be featured in issue 17 of Garbage magazine. Check out some photos for the issue and read a blurb about her article below. Enjoy!
Zendaya and Simone Leigh Are Going Beyond Beauty
In conversation with Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, Artists Simone Leigh and Zendaya come together to create a new vision of black womanhood.
The artist Simone Leigh’s work is build upon black female subjectivity. Throughout her practice, these ideas have manifested themselves in a wide variety of mediums and materials: There are her well-known sculptures and ceramics, as well as her social participatory work such as 2016’s The Waiting Room, which mimics the historic Free People’s Medical Clinic of the Black Panther Party, and provided public and private health care sessions on the fifth floor of the New Museum. Now, GARAGE has paired Leigh with the actress and performer Zendaya to bring her work to life in a different way. Taking inspiration from Brick House, Leigh’s 16-foot-tall sculpture currently on display at New York City’s High Line, as well as her ongoing Cupboard series, Zendaya both wears Leigh’s work and becomes her women. The 23-year-old actress, who’s interested in expanding the canon of characters that young black women are allowed to play in Hollywood, fits perfectly within the larger narrative of Leigh’s work. Together, they take up space and demand to be seen and heard. This portfolio of images, photographed by Ryan McGinley, is the result of their collaboration, a new vision of black womanhood within the pages of a fashion magazine. We also brought Leigh and Zendaya together with Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, to have a frank conversation about creativity and the importance of uplifting the stories of people of color.
Thelma Golden: I’m thrilled to be talking to both of you. Where I want to start is to ask both of you to talk about your expectations, hopes, and desires for this collaboration.
Simone Leigh: I kept on thinking about [Isamu] Noguchi and Martha Graham and the way he created sculpture for her, which has been interesting to me for a while. I’ve been making different kinds of apparatus with my long-term collaborator Aimee Meredith Cox, and I’ve been thinking about this kind of collaboration with another artist where the sculpture will augment her body or can be happening adjacent to her body, but it was important for me in this shoot for the sculpture not to become backdrop or decoration. Also, I was very inspired by the role I feel like Zendaya has in our world right now, which is so necessary.
Zendaya: When the opportunity presented itself, I was obviously extremely excited. Even though we do art in different forms, there’s so much inspiration that could be gathered just by meeting someone and seeing their art, and seeing their work, and being able to be a small part of it. I don’t think I had any expectations, I just felt like it was going to be inspiring and refreshing. I don’t think I know very many people who do what she does, so meeting Simone and seeing her work and feeling like I was in some way becoming a part of her creation was magical and special. I felt very moved by it, and excited to be a part of something that was a different art form from my own, learn a little bit, step back, and just kind of be a part of what she sees for her pieces. I’d never really done anything like that before.