Award-winning designer, illustrator, and painter Unicia Buster, a Richmond native, draws on her lived experiences as a Black woman as source material for her work. Using different media—from textiles and acrylic paint to photography and wearable art—Buster explores the relationship between the self, anti-Blackness, and environmental justice. Her unique, visually complex compositions, which often stem from her own body and image, also challenge sociocultural norms concerning femininity and beauty. Through soft sculptures and dolls that function as extensions of her, for instance, Buster constructs a miniature world of humor and play where full-bodied women frolic in gardens of their own tending and live out loud. In her paintings of hybrid figures that merge plant, animal, and human life and quilts that feature icons from history and her surrounding community, she pictures personal and collective transformation.
Unicia Buster, "Natural," 2020, Acrylic painting on stretched canvas, 36 x 36 inches
Unicia Buster, "Fountain of Youth," 2020, Fabric paint and markers on muslin, cotton fabric, thread, 47 x 47 inches
Unicia Buster, "Fragility," 2021, Acrylic painting on stretched canvas, 36 x 36 inches