This proposed exhibition of oil and watercolor paintings entitled, TOO: An Orientation of Spirit, reflects empathically on being Black in America. 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 for viewers to consider the African American experience and in so doing, form an empathic emotional connection.
The exhibition includes eleven oil paintings, twenty-six watercolor portraits, and a 6’x15’ polyptych containing twenty-six oil canvases.
The polyptych, entitled Ancestral Hopes and Dreams for the Future: West African Adinkra Symbols, honors 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.
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.
The Six 30”x40” oil paintings pictured below address the pain of racism .