Exploring Black identity through fashion, Asha Ama Bias-Daniels is the 2021 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence.
The Taft Museum of Art and the Robert S. Duncanson Society welcome fashion designer Asha Ama Bias-Daniels as the 2021 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, which will now occur annually each Spring.
Bias-Daniels is most widely recognized as the first Cincinnati designer to be a competitor on the television series Project Runway, a finalist on Under the Gunn, and a returning contestant for the newest All-Stars season. As a couture designer, Bias-Daniels is no stranger to runways, creating pieces for various artists from Zendaya to Little Big Town and her line, Asha Ama.
The Cincinnati native graduated as a FISC (Fund for Independent Schools, Cincinnati) Scholar from St. Ursula Academy and went on to study as a Cincinnatus Scholar at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning to graduate magna cum laude with a degree in fashion design.
Daniel’s designs include clothing for men, women, and children, as well as lingerie, swimwear, embroidery, draping, knitting, and tailoring. Her work for women possesses a duality: soft, rhythmic draping against pieces with an armored feel—protection for Black women.
Related Article: Learn more about Robert S. Duncanson
She incorporates ornate detailing, print mixing, strong lines, and cut-outs that accentuate curves in the female form. Bias-Daniels’ latest creative endeavor is exploring a new collection emphasizing the meaning of the year 2020, focusing on the revealing truths of this year and the topic of Black identity.
Bias-Daniels’ impressive resume made her a top contender for this year’s residency theme—fashion design— but a commitment to community involvement is paramount for all Duncanson Artist-in-Residents. With a heart for mentoring and education, Bias-Daniels believes that her experience as a Black woman (often misunderstood, stereotyped, and misidentified) can help her help others find their sense of self through fashion.
Bias-Daniels is an active leader in this work as the founder of the mentorship program, Created to Create. Through this initiative, she teaches fashion design to Black, underprivileged teenage girls in Cincinnati.
About the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence Program
Established in 1986 by the Taft Museum of Art and the Robert S. Duncanson Society, this program honors the achievements of contemporary Black artists working in various disciplines.
The program honors the relationship between painter Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, Nicholas Longworth, who commissioned Duncanson to paint landscape murals in the foyer of his home, now the Taft Museum of Art. To learn more, visit Taft Duncanson Artist-in-Residence.
Public Events & Features
For two weeks in April 2021, Bias-Daniels will lead public programs, teach workshops, and visit schools across Greater Cincinnati—details to be announced.
For an early sneak peek, Taft Museum of Art guests will also see a few examples of her work alongside the museum’s upcoming exhibition, Walk This Way | The Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes, opening February 27—details to be announced.
Related Article: Meet the 2022 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence
The Duncanson Society
The Robert S. Duncanson Society was founded in 1986 by Doris Rankin Sells, the late William Joel McCray, and Ruth K. Meyer to affirm an ongoing Black presence within the Taft Museum of Art structure, including the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program and to celebrate Robert S. Duncanson’s artistic contributions.
About the Taft Museum of Art
The Taft Museum of Art is a living landmark tucked away in downtown Cincinnati, where art and history live on the walls—and in the walls. Built around 1820 as a private home for several of Cincinnati’s most prominent citizens, the Taft Museum of Art is now one of America’s finest small art museums. It holds National Historic Landmark status for its historic house and Duncanson murals.
Throughout our 2001–2004 expansion, guests can enjoy special exhibitions, the historic outdoor garden, Museum Shop and Lindner Family Café, events and programming for all ages, and complimentary on-site parking. It is all under one roof, culminating in a one-of-a-kind, multi-sensory experience that puts you at the center of art and history.
For more information, visit taftmuseum.org.
Related Article: Meet the 2019 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence
Written by: Crystal Kendrick
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Image provided by Taft Theatre