As an architecture student, Marryam Moma found it easier to understand concepts and brainstorm designs and ideas for class projects and homework through art collages.
The more time she spent tearing up bits of magazines and cutting out unique designs from paper, the more she realized she could use this medium to make art, rather than just planning pieces.
“I grew up in a very artistic house,” said Moma, a former architecture student from 2006. part of my livelihood, my lifestyle, from an early age.”
Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Moma created “Vote,” a mural of former President Barack Obama facing the American flag with preserved pink and red flowers pressed to the sides, circling his back, to remind and encourage the black voters that their votes matter. On March 24, the mural was featured in Season 1, Episode 9 of “Bel Air,” a reboot of “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” and Season 8, Episode 11 of “Blackish,” a comedy series about ABC, on April 5.
Moma was both ecstatic and humbled when “Bel Air” and “Blackish” emailed her asking for permission to use her artwork, she said.
“It reinforces again that I’m on a worthwhile journey with art,” Moma said. “It’s an incredibly exciting experience to be able to share my work on such platforms.”
She started doing “Vote” in October 2020 and displayed it publicly in Atlanta to encourage residents to vote in the upcoming election. She used Obama in her piece because he is an important political figure and used flowers to represent positivity, reconciliation and the future, Moma said.
“I wasn’t saying vote for this or that person, but definitely make your choices and make your voice heard,” Moma said.
Although the mural isn’t referenced in any of the episodes, Moma hopes people will notice it and feel empowered, she said.
Moma makes collages that focus on black bodies and usually incorporate flowers as a motif, she said.
She sold her first piece to a family member before she started making art professionally. She started taking her art more seriously in 2015 while working at an art studio and decided to focus on realizing her vision instead of making her art marketable, Moma said.
She spent much of the early stages of her performing career working with local venues in Atlanta, trying to make a name for herself.
In 2019, Moma showed her work in ARTiculate, an annual art show in Atlanta that showcases new artists and helps them network, and met Charly Palmer, an artist, who helped her price pieces. , where to present and how to stay true to his voice in his art, he says.
“Something to me that was very obvious from the start – that this person could make a living as an artist,” Palmer said. “She behaves in such a way that I think she has all the qualities necessary to succeed in this field.”
Tiffany LaTrice met Moma four years ago when Moma joined TILA Studios to connect with other black female artists in Atlanta, and in 2019 selected Moma for the Garden Fellowship, a year-long program that includes a national exhibit during Art Week in Miami, Florida.
LaTrice chose Moma because she likes the precision in Moma’s work, which is unusual in collages, said LaTrice, founder of TILA Studios, an art collective that promotes black women’s art and the equality in the art world.
“We sold all of his works on location in Miami – one of his pieces even sold to a collector in Germany,” LaTrice said. “So that just launched his international artistic career. It continues to flourish to this day.
Moma wants to continue creating art about important issues that will stay relevant and make a difference in people’s lives, she said.
“I just can’t wait to make the trip,” Moma said. “I’m so in love with the collage that I can’t wait to see the sequel. My best piece is yet to come.