I paint the interior lives of black women in intimate spaces. My work examines the threshold between personal and political circumstances and considers the possibilities of using rest as a means of rebellion against capitalistic racism. I present black women’s intimate spaces from a voyeuristic perspective. These images of black women at ease to challenge traditional representations of black womanhood. These women are surrounded and equipped with the objects they need to give themselves comfort; in my world, capitalism works for us, and not the other way around. These paintings are an affirmation of our beauty and subjectivity, not our usefulness.
"When I took it to bed, its hard unyielding limbs resisted my flesh--the tapered fingertips on those dimpled hands scratched. If, in sleep, I turned, the bone-cold head collided with my own. It was a most uncomfortable, patently aggressive sleeping companion...I had only one desire: to dismember it. To see of what it was made, to discover the dearness, to find the beauty, the desirability that had escaped me, but apparently only me...all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured. "Here," they said, "this is beautiful, and if you are on this day 'worthy' you may have it.""
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Parsons School of Design, Associates in Communication Design, 2011
University of Virginia, Bachelor of Arts, Art History and Studio, 2010
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC, Inc, Washington DC
Fundamentals of a Creative Practice, CultureCon, 2017
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation
Chung, Maya. NBCBLK28: Debra Cartwright: Coloring the Truth of Our Beauty. NBC
Frank, Priscilla. Delicate Watercolors Combat Oversimplified ‘Strong Black Woman’ Stereotype. Huffington Post
Gross, Rebecca. Art Talk with Debra Cartwright. National Endowment for the Arts.
Sargent, Antwaun. Artist Uses Watercolors to Spotlight Black Femininity. Vice.
Thomas-Bailey, Carlene. Meet The Lady Who Is Bringing The Idea Of The ‘Carefree Black Girl’ To Life With Art Elle UK