Alisa Sikelianos-Carter USA, b. 1983


Alisa Sikelianos-Carter is a mixed-media painter from upstate New York. Her work asserts that Black features are a manifestation of a sacred and divine technology that has served as a means of survival, both physically and metaphysically. She envisions a cosmically bountiful world that celebrates and pays homage to ancestral majesty, power, and aesthetics.


“I’m stretching out time in a way that doesn’t just go forward,” Sikelianos-Carter says.

“If you had a telescope long enough, from far enough away you could look through it and see Egyptians building pyramids right now. All time is happening at every moment.”


Inspired by traditionally Black hairstyles, Sikelianos-Carter uses web and catalogue-sourced images to construct new archetypes. Through her exploration of opulent, luminescent materials she is creating a mythology that is centered on Black resistance and utilizes the body as a sight of alchemy and divinity.


“I want to live in a world in which every micro-aggression, attack on humanity, and doubt of divinity aimed at Black people is destroyed by future-sent deities,” says Sikelianos-Carter. “These Godx are completely enveloped and adorned by magnificent cornrows, dreadlocks, and twists. The hairstyles act as armor and weapon, protecting and repelling wearers from white supremacy and misogyny. These are the beings I create. My wildest dreams realized; a marriage between the spectral beings we (as Black people) can and will transform into as a result of the culture we currently live in with the majesty, magic, and tradition of our ancestors.”


Sikelianos-Carter earned her BA and MA in Painting and Drawing from SUNY Albany. She is a recent NXTHVN Fellow, and in 2021 was awarded the inaugural fellowship at Foreland, a six month studio residency in the Catskills conferred biennially on an outstanding artist of color. Recent exhibitions of her work include Realms of Refuge, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL; NXTHVN Fellows Group Show, New York, NY; Beasts Like Me: Feminism and Fantasy, Bronx Art Space, Bronx, NY; and Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond, Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. Sikelianos-Carter was featured in New American Paintings, No. 146, Northeast Issue, and received the Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant. She has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY; Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY; and Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL.