Spotlight on Simone Leigh

In the NCMA’s new acquisition Corrugated, Simone Leigh examines the complexity of Black women’s identity at the intersection of racial and gendered cultural systems.


Simone Leigh, Corrugated, 2019, bronze and raffia, H. 81× W. 73 × D. 40 1/2 in., Gift of Thomas S. Kenan III


These cultural complexities require Black women to remain composed and stable despite traditional ideas of feminine fragility. Leigh’s perspective on race, gender, and power celebrates Black women’s resiliency as a tool of self-reliance.

“All work is about identity.”
—Simone Leigh

The sculpture’s wide, corrugated base emulates industrial materials and can be read as either a voluminous skirt or an abstracted body. Leigh further abstracts the figure by removing its eyes, resulting in an inwardly focused form that looks beyond the viewers rather than at them.

Simone Leigh, Corrugated (detail)

Inspired by architectural elements and African diasporic art, Corrugated is a commanding presence that portrays Black womanhood as a powerful experience constructed around themes of fortitude and persistence.

Join curator Maya Brooks as she discusses the resonant implications of Leigh’s energetic sculpture, new and on view in the NCMA’s West Building.


Born in Chicago, Simone Leigh lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow her on Instagram.

Picture of Maya Brooks
Maya Brooks is assistant curator of contemporary art at the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

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