Painter Iona Rozeal Brown has created a fantastical body of work that unites disparate realities: Japanese ukiyo-e prints; voguing; hip-hip; Noh and Kabuki theater; Bunraku puppet theater; West African adinkra symbols; graffiti; Byzantine religious art; and comic-book motifs.
Her paintings are rooted in performance art when she depicts icon-like poses in the dances, performed by Benny and Javier Ninja and Monstah Black, three voguing stars. These three along with Brown have formed the House of Bando, named for an actor of the Kabuki theater.
Brown studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Yale University School of Art. In the early 1990s, she discovered ‘ganguro’, a Japanese movement where young girls darken their skin and dress like hip-hop stars. Ganguro and Japanese shunga paintings also play a role in her large scale paintings.
Her work has been shown in the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2010 and is in the collection of the Hirschhorn Museum.