Niia Leaves an Impression at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Niia Leaves an Impression at Philadelphia Museum of Art

By Tobias HessMay 22, 2024

Niia’s voice moves with the grace of a paintbrush.

The genre-expansive singer has been in the zeitgeist since her 2007 single "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)” introduced the world to her singular voice, deep and shifty, delicate yet forceful. Since then, she’s collaborated with the likes of Jazmine Sullivan and Wyclef Jean and amassed a solo catalog that is in conversation with mediums across time and genre. By weaving in references from cinema, fine art and jazz, Niia has forged an artistic world that is as expansive as it is focused.

That’s why it made sense that Niia joined the Philadelphia Museum Art, sharing a jazz and ambient perofmrance on the opening night of their exhibit of impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt.

Blank canvas.

The American-born, French-trained painter is well known for her lively pastel renderings of motherhood. A largely lone woman among fellow impressionist painters such as Edgar Degas, Cassatt rendered her subjects in vibrant color and at slanted angles, imbuing her scenes with a touch of foggy dreaminess. Niia’s music, much like Cassatt’s paintings, color reality in vibrant and delicate tones, as can be heard most on her newest album, Bobby Deerfield, released last year.

Inaugurating Cassat’s major showing with a performance, Niia brought the history of Cassat and herself to the major museum’s hallowed halls. And she brought PAPER along with her, documenting every moment in the lead up to and aftermath of this special celebration.

It's showtime!

Photography: Brian Carroll