Malayka Gormally is a visual artist, activist and curator who is widely celebrated for her figurative portrait paintings and drawings. Born in Berkeley, California during the American civil rights movement, Malayka’s portfolio is a penetrating exploration of connection and conflict between people of disparate races, generations, and political beliefs. The artist, however, is less interested in making political statements and more interested in highlighting the genuine humanity in each of her subjects.
Malayka Gormally’s Artistic Practice
Inspired by her own experience and observation of political strife and protests in the US, Malayka reconstructs scenes of demonstrators that encapsulate the raw essence of counter-culture movements. Malayka's oil painting Barriers portrays members of the far-right group, the Proud Boys and demonstrates the severe socio-political tensions facing the US in the present day. A stark and direct comment on white supremacy and the far-right, Malayka uses her art as a means of commenting on the problems facing today’s society. Malayka’s female portraits focus on immigrant women applying for United States citizenship. These emotive and abstracted depictions counteract the media’s tendency to present immigrants as statistics rather than human beings with feelings, aspirations and hope.
Studies, Exhibitions & Accolades
Malayka completed a Bachelor of Arts at The Evergreen State College after studying at UC Davis, Swarthmore College, and the University of Oregon. Malayka’s work is included in the City of Seattle Portable Works Collection, the Port of Seattle (SeaTac airport) Collection, and the City of Bellevue and the City of Kent (WA) Collections. Of late, her work was in a two-person exhibition at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum (Iowa, 2019). One of her portrait paintings was shortlisted for the 2014 Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition in London. In 2017, the artist received a 4Culture Art Projects Grant and, in 2020, was also awarded a public art contract.