Laylah Amatullah Barrayn

Black woman wears blue long sleeve top and black hat and glasses and poses facing left with hand on hip and head tilted toward camera

MA Arts Politics Class of 2020

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn is a documentary photographer who was born, lives and works in New York City. Her work explores the multiplicity of cultures, identities, and cosmologies of the global African diaspora with a focus on women and religion. She is the co-author of MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora, the first anthology in nearly 30 years to highlight photography produced by women of African descent. Barrayn is a frequent contributor to The New York Times covering the New York City metro area. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with solo exhibitions at The Museum of the African Diaspora San Francisco, The Taubman Museum of Art (VA), MAK Gallery (Venice + London) and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts (NY). She is a member of Kamoinge, a pioneering collective of African American photographers founded in 1963. She was included as one of the Royal Photographic Society’s (UK) Hundred Heroines. She is a 2017 African Great Lakes Reporting Fellow with the International Women’s Media Foundation, a 2018 finalist for the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University and included in OkayAfrica's 2019 100 Women. Barrayn is currently working on a book on contemporary Black photographers