Since I returned to painting in 1995
I have wanted to express the beauty in our African heritage. To show
the diversity that the Diaspora gave us in various other cultures in
the world. I have tried to present our culture as seen not only in
the context of the pain and suffering inflicted on us in the days of
slavery but to bring forward those cultural contributions, and legacies
we left in Spain, France, Italy and other places of the world. Truly,
that is what the Diaspora was about... the dispersion of culture.
When looking at the many histories on art and researching many of
the famous old masters, our image is present even in medieval times.
Anti-Black racism in the modern sense was unknown in the Middle Ages;
Blacks were simply part of the human race.
In the latter Middle Ages there were even black
saints and one of the Magi was accurately shown as black. Most literature
on Black American
artists is approached as though it was a form of expression separate
from the so-called majority culture. This critical isolation in terms
of art comes from the tradition of classifying people and their culture
by race. I feel the crucial issue is the quality of work and it’s
relevance to the society in which it was created.
As an artist it is not my color that gives me the inspiration or the
capacity to produce a desired result, but the ability to be sensitive
to the various conditions of life that face all mankind.
My first showing of some of these paintings was called “Lost
Images Found Paintings from the Soul” reinforcing the importance
of our culture in various parts of the world.
Three shows followed after that. One expanded on cultural isolation
and the other specifically was to present a new approach to Afro-American
figurative art merging the contemporary and the classical forms.
The objective of my vision is to heighten the awareness of those
who view figurative images in my art and to stimulate one’s thought
and imagination. The end result is a series of paintings and drawings
that form cultural links between our past and our future.