Exhibition Proposal: " Too: An Orientation of Spirit"


   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.



     Twenty-six individually framed watercolor portraits, entitled We Are Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams: The Mission of Black Lives Matter,  hang on the opposite wall from the polyptych. The African American portraits vary in age and gender and hang together in a gallery style arrangement.






       Each painting is framed in batik fabric and has an Adinkra symbol painted on the four corners of the frame (not shown) furthering 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.


The Six 30”x40” oil paintings pictured below address the pain of racism . 





From Where She Stands





From Where He Stands





Black Lives Matter

A Drama in Three Acts

Act Two





When He Takes a Knee





When He Takes Both Knees








4.              Five oil paintings pay


          tribute to African


         Americans' strength in




 Ranging from 24”x18” to 36”x36”,


these portraits of African American


women include lines from Maya 


Angelou’s poetry.  Three portraits


have yet to be painted.


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© Melody Croft