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.