Exhibition Proposal: " Too: An Orientation of Spirit"

 

This solo exhibition, TOO: An Orientation of Spirit, incorporates Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s belief that art is a form of consciousness: a vehicle of communication and empathy.  That the action of art is based on the fact that a person, receiving through the sense of sight an artist’s expression of feeling, is capable of experiencing the emotion that moved the artist who expressed it.  
      The heart of the narrative is the word TOO: the absent, but implied word at the end of the statement, BLACK LIVES MATTER. This small word’s message of inclusion provides the artistic lens to ignite a viewer’s imagination and consider the African American experience.  
     The exhibition includes a 6’x17’ polyptych containing twenty-six 18”x18”oil canvases, an installation of twelve acrylic painted canvases (20”x20”, 24”x20”), twenty-six watercolor portraits (10”x8”, 16”x12”, and 20”x16”), and eleven oil paintings (six: 30”x40” five: 24”x18” to 36”x24”).

 

 

 

 

Ancestral Hopes and Dreams for the Future: West African Adinkra Symbols,

 The polyptych,  acknowledges the origins and history of African Americans. The canvases are painted in Black skin tones and are connected to form the word TOO. Each canvas displays an Adinkra symbol; each symbol represents an attribute, quality, or trait (i.e. love, success, knowledge) that will also appear in the watercolor portraits.

     

 

     Twenty-six watercolor portraits,honor African Americans. The framed portraits’ sizes are 10”x8”, 16”x12”, and 20”x16”. The subjects in the paintings vary in age and gender. The portraits hang gallery style on the wall directly across from the polyptych. 

 

 

         They are framed in batik fabric and have an Adinkra symbol painted on the four corners of the frame, extending the dialogue between the polyptych and the portraits. 

 

     

 

 

The word for the Adinkra symbol attribute, cut

 

from newsprint, is incorporated into each portrait in acknowledgment of the Black Lives Matter movement mission statement: “We affirm our existence. We affirm our right to not only live, but to thrive—to exist in a world where our humanity is seen and honored. We organize to realize a world in which our faiths are held in esteem, our identities are respected, and our families are prioritized. We deserve a world in which our children are protected, our Earth is sacred, and we are given a fair chance to decide our fates.

 On the floor between the watercolor portraits and the polyptych lay twelve 
paintings, Middle Passage (image below), in homage to the enslaved millions who crossed the Middle Passage. Each painting represents turbulent ocean water. The installation is centered on the floor between the two opposite walls and the canvases are separated allowing movement between them. 

 

3. On the floor between the watercolor portraits and the polyptych lay twelve  paintings, Middle Passage (image 5), in homage to the enslaved millions who crossed the Middle Passage. Each painting represents turbulent ocean water. The installation is cent Middle Passage

 

The Six 30”x40” oil paintings pictured below address the pain of racism. The 
contemporary narratives portray the underlying prejudice of “All Lives Matter,” the emotional toll of the deaths of African Americans, and the kneeling of NFL football players in response to those deaths. 
  

 

From Where She Stands

 

 

 

 

 

From Where He Stands

 

 

 

 

Black Lives Matter: A Tragedy in Three Acts, Act Two

 

 

 

 

 

When He Takes a Knee

 

 

 

When He Takes Both Knees

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Our Privilege

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five oil paintings pay tribute to African Americans' strength in adversity.  

Ranging from 24”x18” to 30"x30", these portraits of African American women include lines from Maya Angelou’s poetry. Three portraits have yet to be painted.

 

Susan, poetry excerpt: "I Rise" by Maya Angelou

 

 

 

 

4.             

Contemplation, text by Maya Angelou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jana, poetry excerpt, "I Rise" by Maya Angelou
Melinda, poetry excerpt, "I Rise" by Maya Angelou
Nicole, poetry excerpt, "I Rise" by Maya Angelou
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© Melody Croft