Through the influence of hip-hop, history, and science fiction, my artwork explores themes in Afrofuturism, a projected vision of an imagined future which critiques the historical and cultural events of the African Diaspora and the distinct black experience of the Middle Passage. While also delving into deeper social issues which broaden the conversation between all of humanity.
From these ideas, my art practice is based on research and references the visual traditions from the Caribbean, South America, the Southern United States, and the African continent. I work in clay 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.
During my time in Iowa, my research has been focused on the pineapple as a symbol which represents welcoming and hospitality, while also pushing larger issues of access to food, empire, and what constitutes the feeling and or act of being welcomed. Through this research, I have discovered that the tradition of the pineapple as a symbol for hospitality is rooted in slavery and agricultural colonization of the Caribbean, South America, and the Southern United States, in particular, South Carolina and my home state of Georgia. When a new slave ship bringing enslaved Africans docked at the port, the dock foremen would place a pineapple at the front of the dock to notify a new shipment of enslaved Africans has arrived. This creating the pineapple as a symbol for welcoming. The investigation in the concept of welcoming is also from personal struggles in moving to a new place and environment and not feeling like I belonged or welcomed. The human desire to find a place to belong and call home is universal.