The urge to create something

With her project #BlackGirlMagic, Cherry-Ann Davis is exploring the magic that is the African female. Photos: Regula Bearth © ZHdK

Cherry-Ann Davis is a graphic designer from Trinidad and Tobago and expresses her views of the world through visual communication. Through her work she wants to break up stereotypes and narratives. An endeavour very close to her heart is the positive portrayal of African women.

BY FREDERIC POPPENHÄGER
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Frederic Poppenhäger: Why did you decide to specialise in visual communication?
Cherry-Ann Davis: Visual communication has always intrigued me. From my earliest childhood memories, of growing up in an impoverished and marginalised community, art has been my escape. I’ve always felt like my purpose is to “Create something, Anything!” From the doodling that got me into trouble as a child, I have evolved my style and sought productive ways to channel this creative energy and foster a career.

What are you currently working on?
One of my passion projects is #BlackGirlMagic, a series of digital portraitures exploring the magic that is the African female. Many of the images of black women portrayed by the mainstream media are in a negative light, and I wanted something that counteracted that narrative. My way of doing so is to show the softer side of the often misrepresented stereotyped “angry black woman”; something elegant and graceful: a woman who is beautiful in every state. My study of illustrations declares our beauty isn’t a version of beauty, but it is beauty in its own right.

What is the purpose of visual communication in our society?
In my opinion, our society is a very visual one: We share and get our news and most information from screens. Visual communication is the best way to share, tell and have people engage with us and the stories we tell. I think visual communication is the evolution of graphic design with the advancement of technology according to the needs of society.

What were you doing before you came to study at ZHdK?
Before moving to Switzerland, I was in a leading creative position in the Caribbean financial sector. I worked my way up from being an office assistant, to administrative assistant and on to my dream job as the lead graphic designer over a six-year period. I also started a blog with a friend of mine that focused on showcasing the food, lifestyle and fashion industry of Trinidad and Tobago.

Who or what doesn’t suit you at all?
What doesn’t suit me is a limited view of possibilities as I am generally a hopeful person. Many things can be accomplished with the proper planning and seizing of opportunities or making opportunities where there may not have necessarily been any.

What are your plans after your studies?
After my studies, I will be starting or expanding my business into a media studio providing business consulting on advertising and design. I would also like doing more pattern designing for fashion and interior design, which is my favourite thing to do at this time.

 

 

Further student portraits published in Zett
Frederic Poppenhäger (frederic.poppenhaeger@zhdk.ch) is responsible for communications at the Design Department.

 

 

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