Mickalene Thomas is an American contemporary artist known for her vibrant and textured paintings, collages, and mixed-media works that explore themes of race, gender, beauty, and representation. She was born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1971, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

Thomas gained recognition for her distinctive style, which often combines bold colors, patterns, and rhinestones with a range of materials such as acrylic, enamel, and collage elements. Her work draws inspiration from various art historical periods, including the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Power movement, while also engaging with popular culture and contemporary notions of beauty and identity.

Many of Thomas' works feature powerful and complex depictions of black women, often incorporating portraits of herself, friends, and models. She explores the ways in which black women have been historically represented in art and popular culture, challenging and subverting traditional narratives to create a more diverse and inclusive visual language.

Thomas has also expanded her practice into photography and video, exploring similar themes through these mediums. Her photography often involves staged and meticulously composed scenes that reference art history and challenge traditional notions of beauty and sexuality.

Her work has been exhibited extensively in major museums and galleries worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Thomas has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to contemporary art, including the USA Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz Fellow and the United States Artists Grant.

Mickalene Thomas' art continues to make a significant impact by challenging conventions, celebrating the beauty and complexity of black women, and offering new perspectives on representation, identity, and cultural history.