Ja’Deana Cognetta-Whitfield

“I’m creating art that embodies utopias with hopes of making them into realties.”

Ja’Deana Cognetta-Whitfield is a multimedia artist and community activist based in Schenectady, NY. They received a BFA from Russell Sage College in Albany, NY. 

Their practice includes themes such as identity, community and family, both biological and found. They specifically focus on the Black subject through found and captured images, in order to shift the gaze and make space for them.

Through photography, collage, writing, public speaking, and curating, they hope to tell the stories of the unheard and show the faces of the overlooked. And most importantly, to find a sense of foundation and grounding in their relationship with their own identity.

Ja’Deana has been apart of numerous group exhibitions in Upstate NY and has curated three art shows titled Black Molasses, The Love Within and Between Us, and Art on Our Mind, at Russell Sage’s Little Gallery. They received multiple publications  and awards for their art and activism work, including the Usher Fine Arts Award in 2021 & 2023 from Russell Sage, and the Emanuel Friedens Baptist Church, Dignity for All Award . They were also a grantee for Creative Rebuild New York, Guaranteed Income for Artist Grant.


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