From the West African influence of the Geechee in South Carolina to the creole flavor in New Orleans, Ninth Ward, my work is inspired by and speaks to the diversity found amongst African Americans. My paintings highlight the history and culture of African American communities through vibrantly rendered architectural structures, which include housing, civic buildings, storefronts, and places of worship.
The goal of this series is to focus on predominantly black neighborhoods during the Great Migration as well as those affected by redlining. Although the black figure in my work is absent, the spirit of the people is present. Each structure is reduced to a simplified form as colors balance out the composition. Research for the series ranges from reviewing commercial maps to house plans of shotgun houses built in the 1940s.
My paintings so far have been created with acrylic, colored pencils, and house paint, but as the series grows, I foresee maps, mark-making, and collage finding its way onto the canvas. I paint for the same reason that I write: to engage with current discourse concerning black aesthetics. The black aesthetic I wish to capture is filled with color and layered with complexities that connect to history as well as promote promise for future generations. Ultimately, I want the housing series to be a source of pride and a reminder of the journey black people had to endure to call America home.
What my time at KCAD meant to me
My time at KCAD has been rewarding both educationally and personally. I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many talented and creative people in graduate school. KCAD has provided excellent academic opportunities to help grow my career. I am confident I will make a significant impact in the fields of visual arts and cultural studies.