"CitizenSHIP" Riverside Art Center, Ypsilanti, Michigan . Opening August 2, 2019
"CitizenSHIP" WHAT IS THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE PEOPLE ANS THE STATE?
ROVERSIDE ART CENTER
PRAYER | PROTEST | PEACE IN PAINT 2017
Oil on canvas, mixed media collage 108 in X 48 in
PRAYER, PROTEST & PEACE In PAINT , a triptych, is comprised of three paintings;
FREE ME, WE INSIST! & HISTORY. Each painting is a response to the reading The
War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in
Prison, and Fighting for Those Left Behind by Safiya Bukhari. It is very rich material,
raw with truth, stirred up many different emotions and memories, in the end, I come to
the realization these cultural divides still exist, the prison industrial complex is very real,
needs to be dismantled, and prejudice and inequality remain as prevalent as ever.
Freedom comes with responsibility. As a multi-media artist I was also inspired by the
album “Freedom Now Suite” which stands alone, and remains the best-known jazz work
ever created containing explicit political content, written by drummer Max Roach and
Chicago Singer/Songwriter, Oscar Brown Jr. with vocals by Abbey Lincoln.
I have tried to adopt an attitude of improvisation, and like these two artists, to use my art,
in this case my visual art, to the service and memory of the civil rights movement and the
injustices suffered by the members of the Black Panther Party, some of whom are still
incarcerated after 30 years, just for their political views. I express here my fascination
with surface and the physicality of the painted surface, and respond through this painting,
to the work of Roach & Brown. The work emerges after experimenting with mediums,
and monotypes. I developed an approach to image making that is both influenced by my
painting and influenced by my printmaking. I employ the concepts of physicality this
work; paint, text, and surface. The materials themselves become part of the experience.
The textured papers, and thick fiber pastes are physical in nature, and the large canvas
allows my whole body to become part of the process of encountering the creative spirit. I
believe that art can transform lives. I believe that art can heal lives. In this work,
through these readings, and through this music, the triptych is an effort to give back
through my visual art to a wounded community. My work becomes a communication
between the inner self and the outer world through Poetics.