The People Could Fly: Royalty Without The RichesFebruary 13, 2016 – March 26, 2016
Say that long ago in Africa, some of the people knew magic. And they could walk up on the air like climbin’ on a gate. And they fly like blackbirds over the fields. Black, shiny wings flappin’ against the blue up there.
Virginia Hamilton (1985)
My subjects are people that I see every day. I have always been fascinated by the nobility of everyday people. It radiates into everything they do. I grew up watching my parents and grandparents work hard while every day making sure that we - the children - understood that we were to carry ourselves with pride and dignity. Dignity was always stressed in my home. My father did not need to have the wealth of a king to have the bearing of one. I see this heritage every day as I pass through the world. We all come from strong people who survived the middle passage. I see men and women who are descendants of African kings and queens. Their skin gleams in the sunlight. Their gazes are sharp. Their bearing so regal. They are the royalty who walk among us. We have known them from the days when the people could fly. In them we see our own family members, friends and neighbors. I want to convey all of those things in my artwork.
My materials can be found in all of our closets, or in the closets of our relatives. I use the fabric that we surround ourselves with to create portraits. My portraits are telling the story of what these people look like and what lives they lead based on the fabrics we wear. My portraits also give you a glimpse into the inner character of the subject. Although they may be made of old denim and burlap, they have the regal aura of royalty. In my portraits, I want people to be able to see how seemingly ordinary materials can look like the finest of cloths depending on how they are used. I portray our people as proud, dignified and noble just the way I see them every day.