30 x 40 in, foam core template, acrylic print, $2,500
Black Lives Matter
No Ways Tired
Name of painting, "No Ways Tired"--decided it on 3/31/2016 at 5;35 am. Google "No Ways Tired" and listen to lyrics of Rev James Cleveland...."I don't believe God brought me this far....to leave me."
This painting has lots of symbols that represent our journey as African Americans. Starting from the upper right hand side, we have the three birds, that represent a holy trinity. Also on the right hand side, we have "green" pastures and further down, I illustrate a field that our enslaved ancestors worked on with little recompense. Underneath the field, we have the Point of No Return, where we were brought from and the slave ship with the small patch of ocean (between the slave ship and the point of no return), representing the middle passage.
I purposely painted the face with several skin tones, representing our diversity. The hair depicts cornrows which are also painted as maps. It was reported or believed that enslaved Africans would draw a map in their hair as freedom maps. I do not know if this is true or not, but love the imagery and idea of this subversive and clever act.
On the left side of the painting, the figure is looking to the left with birds painted as the pupil in the eyes. Birds in flight represent forms of freedom, the hope for a better day and the ability to soar. The chain on the shoulder represents the ways that we have to contend with daily prejudice, discrimination, and the shackles that come with coping with these unnecessary elements.
On the furthest left hand panel, there is a key hole and above it another prison--but in this prison, unlike the prison bars indicated in the lower right panel--there is sunlight and hope shining through the bars. The sky on the upper left is starting to turn gray.
Finally, I use a painting style, which is a mosaic and this style attempts to replicate stained glass, often found in churches. Light, in my imagination, can shine through this figure to illuminate it. I also paint my figures with an eye toward androgyny. Do you as the viewer see this as a man or a woman? Or did you not think of gender when you viewed it? I question how we form concepts of identity, and what markers we use to place people across gendered categories.
In essence, this painting is two paintings in one,the right side is the past and the left side is the future.
African American's psychological and lived experience is often collapsed within time continuum, with no real distinction between past, present, and future. I attempt to visually represent this psychological concept. In addition to being an artist, I am also a black psychologist who has studied and wrote about Black racial and cultural identity.