Artist Statement

My research has been focused on the pineapple as a symbol that represents welcoming and hospitality. This investigation in the rituals and the action of being welcomed or hospitable to others is from my own experiences. I have encountered many struggles in negotiating public spaces as a black man and person of color. Through this inquiry, the tradition of the pineapple as a symbol for hospitality is rooted in slavery and agricultural colonization of South America, the Caribbean, and the Southern United States in particular, South Carolina and my home state of Georgia. When slave ships bringing enslaved Africans docked at the wharf, the foremen placed a pineapple on a spike. The pineapple now, becoming the beacon to identify a new shipment of enslaved Africans, has arrived. Thus originating the pineapple as a symbol for welcoming.

From this research my art practice pulls from my interest in hip-hop culture, history, and science fiction. The artwork references the visual traditions from the Southern United States, the Caribbean, South America, and the African continent. I utilize printmaking, installation, and performance to elevate the importance of my ceramic sculptures as a historical and creative base material to inform memories of the past. The handling of clay reveals the process and shares the markings of its maker. Ceramics becomes a bridge to conceptually integrate disparate objects and or images for the purpose of creating new understandings and connections with the material, history, and social-political issues. I compare the construction and deconstruction of materials to the remix in rap music and how human beings adapt to different environments and reinvent new identities. These ceramic objects are vessels, each making symbolic allusions to the black body.

The artworks suggest the past, discuss the present, and explores possible futures interconnected to the African Diaspora. While also examining deeper social issues that broaden the conversation between all of humanity.