As a person who lives at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, art has helped me contextualize how I navigate this world. Mixed-media collage and sculpture has become the way that I can tangibly arrange these different aspects of my existence into a whole. As my practice has expanded, I’ve arrived at a place where I desire to explore those intersections communally.
The themes of my previous work from the exhibits Overload and It's About Time dealt mostly with myself, understanding my body, the clichés surrounding it, and the violence inflicted upon it. I looked to art history to explore how being a fat black woman and being inserted into common narratives brought new context to them. My current series, Dust II Onyx, uses tarot divination to merge the multitude of intersections within black culture. I was inspired by my own spiritual journey deconstructing, decolonizing and disconnecting from my Christian foundations. As an African-American unable to trace my ancestry beyond a few decades, this work has helped me gather the shards of my black identity that once felt scattered. I felt conflicted about jumping into other African spiritual traditions within the diaspora to find myself. I didn’t want to be appropriative. Using multi-media collage, I explored the archetypes within tarot while imagining an ancient civilization that carries all of our history within it. A world beyond this dimension, yet intrinsically connected to our own.
Moving forward, my practice is expanding into more immersive experiences using performance and multi-media sculpture to take the viewers beyond voyeurism into active participation in the healing of the black femme and, in turn, themselves. I’ll be returning to Debbie and Joi, two ceramic sculptures named after lead women from the movie Friday and inspired by the masquerade of the Sande society. The work was created to challenge respectability politics within black culture. My desire is to expand on this idea and transform the gallery space into a temple and place of reverence for the black femme in all her various forms, using stories of actual women in the community. I believe, in this way art becomes a tool of resistance and transformation not just politically, but at the root of one's spirit.