Location: Atlanta, GA, United States
I use portraiture, Creolization, and found objects as artifacts to create conduits of memory. Creolization, a hybridization of African cultural traditions and those of the new world of the Americas. It was a means of survival, a subversive rebellion for identity and autonomy from those that would otherwise oppress them. This was a necessity of African people from the diaspora, who are led to believe that all signs of our history, status, spiritual and cultural practices were erased upon arrival to the Americas. I use common western symbolic elements of wealth and status; jewels, lace, velvet, etc. to psychologically shift the internal narrative of the viewer towards elevation of the subjects, acceptance, expanded perception and expectation.
Black girls are inserted into an alternate past, creating the narrative of them as their own ancestors in the present for their heirs to see in the future. As ancestors, they embody power over destiny, time, representation, and spirit. The children are conjurers with innocent, pure spirits open to ancestors showing them a true narrative of their heritage. I too understand my place as a daughter of the Diaspora taking energy, signs and intuition as ancestral guidance leading me to create works that explore race, history, spirit, memory and material culture to connect to my past.
I shift the narrative, exploring the spiritual connections that were subverted in plain sight through syncretic rituals. Through materials within the work, the pearls, lace, cotton, bowls, feathers, old world artifacts of spiritual practice, Creolization becomes the means to have some control over body, mind and spirit in a hostile new colonial world. Feathers become flight and freedom, passed down as factual fable between Africans trapped in the Americas. Mirrors are used to look back at the past to confront the present and future while pearls replace the traditional African beads used to anoint power, while representing status and wealth.