Imagine we are standing next to each other in a gallery space, in a post-COVID world, stepping back to look at my work. Read through my description on the right to experience how I would describe my work to you. I would begin by explaining my process and general vision for my work and then point out pieces on the wall in a particular order to talk about the experiences of Black people in the United States. For close-ups of my artwork with labels, scroll down. I arranged the images below in the order I would point them out to you, matching the order of the artworks explained in my description.
My Process and Vision:
I am a Black man who paints, draws, and collages to tell stories of power manifested in resilient peoples, determined to resist erasure and break free of master narratives. I explore race, history, and intersectionality. My ideas are often expressed in a graphic style that incorporates realism, Minimalism, and hard-edge painting. My mixed media works show individuals in and out of black and white spaces, shaped like rectangles and squares, a metaphor for segregation, defiance, and loss. The black space represents Black power, and the white space represents white rage. The blue overhead can carry different meanings based on the scene shown underneath its band of color. Depending on its size, shade, and placement, the blue can symbolize peace, tension, or the abuse of power.
Information about my work installed:
The painting with its top half covered in blue, "Hall of Fame: Homes of Augusta T. Chissell and Margaret Briggs Gregory Hawkins," remembers two Black suffragettes, grassroots organizers who lived in West Baltimore. Chissell (1880-1973) and Hawkins (1877-1969) fought for the intersectional and comprehensive passage of the 19th Amendment when "women's rights" often meant only white women's rights. This piece presents Augusta T. Chissell's spirit, with a child in her arms, standing in front of her and Hawkins' neighboring homes in 2020, the centennial year of the 19th Amendment, nearly forgotten next to an abandoned building.
The artwork second from the right, "White People Cannot Give Anybody Their Freedom," shows a line of Birmingham firefighters from 1963 holding a water hose standing in front of a large poster of the civil rights activist and later Black power leader Stokley Carmichael [Kwame Ture] (1941- 1998). A surveillance plane flies overhead.
The piece on the far left, "We Are All Born Free," reveals a Black boy struck by a cropped, blurred, and distressed 1900 image of a Black man lynched. The boy sees himself.
The piece on the far right, "Exodus," depicts a privileged white man left alone in a world without Black culture. A young Black man exits in worn clothes looking back at the white man standing in what remains.
My thesis work reflects my pedagogy and teaching philosophy to support antiracism. As an artist, teacher, and researcher, I am committed to working toward racial justice through imagery, storytelling, facilitation, and dialogue.