Donita Simpson
A black & white portrait of a black woman seated in a chair in her art studio.

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Gilda Snowden in Her Detroit Studio
Collection of the artist

Donita Simpson’s portrait of the late Detroit-based artist Gilda Snowden portrays a woman with a forthright gaze surrounded by original art, projects in progress, and the accumulated ephemera of a successful career spent teaching and contributing to a vibrant art scene. For many years Simpson has been making portraits of local artists in their studios and homes, emphasizing the interior spaces as extensions of the sitters’ identity. She is committed to documenting the “real Detroit,” the part visitors never see—“the tight safe havens where the city’s spirit is created and renewed.” Simpson states, “I photograph them because I am interested in the pride and exuberance with which they share their art, teach art, and the welcome way in which they communicate what they do and how they do it.”