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Who Am I, Where Do I Tether

Photography (with frame)

Artist Residence: Chicago, IL

Size: 60 x 11

From the Artist - What is Black Art

Black Art to me is anything born out of or made to comment on the experiences of Black, African, indigenous peoples, and the wider diaspora. It does not have to be heavily related to the tropes and prominent cultural markers to qualify as Black Art. As long as I live and breathe in a body classified as black and female, in a community and culture heavily influenced by the wisdom, creativity, and experiences of black people, I am making Black Art.

About the Artist

How one discovers, contends with, and accepts identity interests me. I am fascinated with the ambiguity and emotional turmoil that colors this process. As such, I explore my journey of self-discovery. In the last four years being away from family and my homeplace, I have uncovered more of who I am and continue to become. I have discovered who I am in my faith. As a young Christian woman, I seek to include my faith in every aspect of my lived experiences, including my studio practice. Thus, I explore ways to incorporate the aspects that ground me in my faith, such as prayer, worship music, praise dancing, and creating in the work I produce. In tandem, through reflection, I also return to moments with loved ones, seeking to understand and recognize these experiences’ impact in shaping who I am. In doing so, I find that distance, memory, and nostalgia are themes that permeate my work. These ideas are realized in my photographs and mixed-media installations. I take photographs, preferably using the technique of long exposures. This method allows for my exploration of time, memory, space, the ephemeral, and Christian spirituality. I take pictures that appear ethereal, paying homage to my faith’s importance to my identity and connecting to my constant evolution, coming more into myself each time. My mixed-media installations are composed of textiles, stitching, embroidery hoops, beads, buttons, and photographs. As a child, these materials were a means for me to creatively explore with my mother. Now, they serve as integral components of my work. Employing stitching and sewing in my work makes it gendered since such skills are relegated as women’s work, thus less important. Nonetheless, as a female creative with a personal history with these skills, I proudly claim them, seeing them as a source of empowerment. Utilizing items that can be transformed, molded, and shaped in building my mixed media works has always appealed to me, especially because of my focus on materiality, and the tactility of the objects. I enjoy the malleability of these objects because they echo my continuous evolution and the pain, frustration, guilt, disappointment, and refinement that come with these changes. Additionally, the repetition involved in manually composing a piece from several parts has a therapeutic effect, causing me to continually return to mixed media as a way to unwind and reset.