Hey, your walls could use an update. That’s why we’re providing a crash course on the new crop of artists—photographers, illustrators, painters and more—coming out of this year’s Art Miami fair, kicking off on November 29. This buzz-worthy group was brought together by Diamonds Unleashed and all have been nominated by the art world’s old guard. Their task: Reinvent the diamond as a symbol of women’s empowerment, the core mission of the organization’s founder, Kara Ross. Here’s a look at what each artist created, plus details on what inspired their work. (And psst, save the date: Each piece will be auctioned off on Charitybuzz as soon as Art Miami begins.)

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Artist: Hueman

Title of work: The Silent Storm

“I wanted to communicate the complex beauty of a strong woman—a woman dressed in lace, a typical symbol of femininity, amidst the sharp edges of a diamond.”

Nominated by Jessica Goldman Srebnick

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Artist: Daniella Kallmeyer

Title of work: Strong Female Lead

“The hand-painted and hand-stitched patches pay homage to generations of women who fought for women’s rights, feminist ideology and equality throughout history and up until today. They are badges of honor and warrior patches in the battle to make ‘Strong Female Lead’ not just a category on Netflix, but a social and economic norm.”

Nominated by Norma Kamali

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Artist: Tamar Ettun

Title of work: Peak/Diamond

“In my work, I’m interested in seeing the body’s position in public spaces, specifically the female body. As a commentary on women’s empowerment, I remade a piece I did a few years ago: I dove into every trash can on one street in Brooklyn looking for the right image. The diamond symbol is taped on my feet and can only be revealed when I stand on my head with my back to the camera.” 

Nominated by RoseLee Goldberg

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Artist: Antonia Wright

Title of work: The Paradigm of Society Is Not the Pyramid, but the Circle

“When thinking about the diamond and inner strength, they both seemed to be about light, which is why I chose to work in the medium of neon.”

Nominated by Ellen Salpeter

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Artist: Melissa Gamwell

Title of work: Shield

“Much of my inspiration is drawn from the physicality and archival imagery of primitive tools and found objects, all of which are early testaments to our path of industrious birth. Many an elongated shard of stone went on to be copied, perfected and improved countless times over, while their lesser counterparts made up a relative universe. Using the material processes with clay and cast wax that I work with in my practice, I would like to re-create a set of objects that imply a natural history and evolution of the Diamonds Unleashed mission.”

Nominated by Michele Oka Doner

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Artist: Mara Sprafkin

Title of work: Miami, One of the Fastest Growing Cities in the Nation, Is Truly a Magic City

“I often work with found postcards as starting points, and the images and places in the postcards are very important. Knowing that this piece was to initially travel to Miami, I decided that these postcards were a perfect place to start, as Miami is a city that sparkles. This piece is as much about Miami as it is about highlighting diamonds and letting them both literally surround a mother and her young child in a vintage picture-perfect beach scene.”

Nominated by Lisa Dennison

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Artist: Lyndi Sales

Title of work: Crystal Bridge

"This piece refers to a portal to another dimension. My work is often concerned with alternate realities—I’m fascinated by the unseen, but also vision and perception and how we view the world around us through our own filters."

Nominated by Lionel Smit

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Artist: Aurora Molina

Title of work: Etched By Threads

“This is a collaborative piece that emerges out of the idea of empowering two of my former students and giving them the opportunity to narrate through thread how their lives have been shifted by education and how, going forward, they can identify their past as part of their present."

Nominated by Bernice Steinbaum

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Artist: Marija Markovic

Title of work: In Color on Color

“Diamonds are admired because of their natural structure that is very close to our idea of perfection. The process of painting, on the other hand, involves producing imperfections and then selecting the ones to preserve. Looking at the brush strokes on a painting, one can feel the artist’s presence, which is what I have chosen to emphasize in this piece: the juxtaposition of human imperfection with the structure that is considered the symbol of perfection.”

Nominated by Beth Rudin DeWoody

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Artist: Sadie Barnette

Title of work: Untitled (Diamonds)

“This piece was created by photographing a pink diamond paperweight on top of the same glitter/holographic paper that I used to create the diamond on top of the print.” 

Nominated by Zoe Buckman

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Artist: Paige Silverman

Title of work: Alice

“This piece uses materiality to invert the physical components of a diamond (hard, angular and reflective) into a large, rounded, opaque wall hanging sculpture. While still identifiable as a diamond, it has purged itself of those basic 'diamond-like' characteristics completely.” 

Nominated by Haas Brothers

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Artist: Susan Lee-Chun

Title of work: Untitled (Diamonds on My Mind)

“This piece started off as a manipulated ready-made with an amorphous mass occupying the head of a porcelain Asian statue. The bulbous form acting as the head is covered by diamond forms as a deliberate action to conceal or obscure the sight and identity of the effigy, resulting in a form that hovers between kitsch, beauty and the grotesque.”

Nominated by Darlene Perez

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Artist: Yayoi Asoma

Title of work: Elemental Power

“The structure of the diamond is what gives it its extraordinary strength, luminosity, clarity, durability and hardness, and the structure of the graphite is what makes it soft, light absorbent, opaque and resistant to heat and nearly inert in contact with other materials. I like the idea that both extreme forms of carbon are impenetrable and represent notions of strength and beauty in different forms."

Nominated by Agnes Gund

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Artist: Katherine Kousi

Title of work: OMWANA NI WA BHONE

“My vision for this piece was to create some sort of village moving upward. I turned the diamond upside down and made it a mountain. Mountains are symbolic in life of overcoming one's challenges and rising to the top. The stick bugs made up the women’s bodies. In nature, when a stick bug visits you, this means to stand still, be patient and listen to the world around you. I used butterfly wings—a symbol of joy, color, gentleness, lightness and transformation—to dress the girls and women.”

Nominated by Marianne Boesky

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