Futuristic technologies have not saved “us” from racism, sexism, police brutality, red lining, or gentrification. As an artist-activist, I lean more towards the visual and social aesthetics of the African diaspora to uplift marginalized women and feminine identifying non-binaries. It is my duty as an artist-activist to teach and learn truthfully and boldly: finding fulfillment through knowledge, introspection, and public service. My content is about the aesthetics of living in America on the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, age, and class. Common themes in my artwork and research are Black hair politics, beauty politics, queerness, colorism, generational trauma, the Black Arts Movement, Afrofuturism, intersectionality, Black feminist theory, popular culture, rootwork spirituality, identity politics, and power.
We are in a tumultuous moment of history where oppressive systems operate in plain sight and behind the scenes. My paintings, drawings, cut paper, assemblage, and writings are my expressive forms of kuumba, “to do always as much as I [we] can, in the way I [we] can, to leave this world more beautiful than how I [we] inherited it.” I see painting, drawing, assemblage, cut paper, and writing as parts of singular storytelling and veneration for art/ Black history.
I have a complex relationship to painting and object-making as a woman artist who is queer, Black, and an activist.
Abstract painting feels more spiritual in my gut, and I carry the history of Black abstraction painters who were exiled (from their Black creative peers) for excluding the human figure in political artworks. In my abstract paintings, I theorize and explore the symbolism of red, black, and green, along with the color palettes and geometric patterns of West African textiles. I apply the historical significance of color, rhythm, and texture to generate fresh compositions of abstraction. The history of still life and genre painting fascinates me because I understand “commonplace activities and objects” as subjective to the identity and geography of the artist. I apply these traditional definitions to representational paintings of Black lesbian queerness, self-care maintenance rituals, beauty implements, and modern domestic spaces, with mindful and critical attention to the history of American genre painters.
Abstraction is also heavily present in my sculpture process. My metaobjects reference femininity and social bias through the art-form of assemblage. Color, texture, hair extensions, nail extensions, wooden beads, acrylic beads, language, and personal totems become abstracted sculptural manifestations of resilient Black feminine energy. I began this body of work in 2008 and I am very passionate about expanding its physical presence into immersive full room installations with paintings and drawings.
I have created full coverage wall installations of paper nude figures, which are cut freestyle with a precision blade. No preliminary drawings are done to determine the movement or composition of each body. The Black female form is heavily present throughout all my artwork, however, cut paper is the most immediate and intuitive form of expression. Each nude is doing an action; bending over, leaping, balancing, dancing, arms up praising, legs spread, or kneeling as call for empathy, open mindedness, and celebration for all forms of the divine feminine bodies. I am affirming the existence of feminine womyn to be unapologetic in all their glory.