In a world consumed by hustle culture, discover how Danielle McKinney and Tricia Hersey are leading quiet revolutions. Through their art and advocacy, they challenge norms and prioritize self-care, inspiring others to embrace rest as a form of empowerment. Explore their stories of resilience and resistance against the relentless demands of productivity.

At the intersection of art and activism, two remarkable women have emerged as champions of tranquility and repose for Black women. With her evocative and thought-provoking paintings, Danielle Mckinney and Tricia Hersey, the visionary behind the groundbreaking Nap Ministry, assert that rest is not just a personal indulgence but a radical act of resistance. Their work offers a sanctuary from the relentless demands of productivity that often overshadow the need for peace and self-care.

Danielle Mckinney. Hold your Breath (2024).

Danielle Mckinney. Hold your Breath (2024).

Danielle Mckinney's current exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery, as featured in The Guardian on April 17, 2024, delves into the seldom-highlighted theme of Black women in states of rest. Her painting "Hold Your Breath" captures this with sublime subtlety, depicting a woman draped in a burnt orange robe, her posture of complete relaxation and introspection. This representation challenges the frequent societal overlook of Black women's moments of stillness and self-reflection. Veronica Esposito from The Guardian further describes the scene, "The painting seductively combines simplicity and precision and holds the eye, highlighting a moment of absolute restful satisfaction set against an olive green background that perfectly complements the subject's mood."

Tricia Hersey, known affectionately as the Nap Bishop, has cultivated a movement that equates rest with liberation. As The New York Times detailed on October 23, 2022, Hersey's Nap Ministry advocates for napping as a form of protest against the grind culture endemic to American society. Her approach provides a physical respite and a spiritual reawakening to the importance of rest, especially for communities historically burdened by relentless labor expectations. Melonyce McAfee of The New York Times captures Hersey's commitment: "Hersey was determined to commit to rest — and in the process, to push back on what she saw as a legacy of forced labor and exhaustion endured by her ancestors."
McKinney and Hersey tap into a profound lineage of resilience and resistance within the Black community. Their work stands in stark contrast to the historical narratives of chattel slavery in America and systemic oppression. They reclaim their right to rest by framing it as a form of resistance and presenting a counter-narrative to capital-driven values prioritizing productivity over well-being.

Watch: Tricia Hersey's 'Rest Life' for a Tranquil Escape

Danielle Mckinney and Tricia Hersey's endeavors are poignant reminders of the power of rest and repose. Through their respective mediums of art and activism, they champion a recalibration of societal values towards more sustainable self-care and mental health practices. Their message resonates within the Black community and offers universal insights into the transformative power of slowing down in a fast-paced world, challenging societal norms and expectations.


The feature photo by Derrick Hemphill creatively combines elements from various photographs with original details, crafting a unique visual piece.