CURRENT CONTENT

My current body of work is a visual diary.

The best way for me to speak uninterrupted is by creating art and putting it out to the world.

There will be a roadblock when it comes to the interpretation of my work, so let this serve as a synopsis.

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Afro Cogitatio [Self Portraiture]

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My self portraits as a whole is a window into my mind which is very much cluttered. Influenced by my want to no longer bare my soul to the world in it’s rawest form due to how exhausting it was, I’ve changed my practice to be more calming and organized.

Creating art of discomfort required strength I realized I didn’t have. That realization came when I saw that I was willingly placing myself in the stereotypical box of what society thinks a Black woman is.

Angry, tough, and every adjective mainly associated with men.

Now I am creating art of softness.

Within my art practice and techniques borrowed from artists who inspire me, starting with Muholi Zanele, a South African artist. They are know for their black and white self portrait photographs where their skin tone is exaggerated in tone. They also have other artworks documenting the lives of the lgbt+ community in South Africa as an archive of existence. However, my inspiration comes from Muholi’s self portraits. My biggest take away is not that they darken their skin, but that their eyes are the focal point,, they take control of the entire image and to me I find that to be fascinating.

Another artist who uses a technique of control would be Dutch painter Rembrandt. His technique of control was chiaroscuro which is the usage of extreme light and dark. With this technique he would isolate the area of his paintings where he wanted people to focus on with the most light and everything else surrounding that would be extremely dark.

Let me explain why the idea of taking control in my art comes from, it goes back to my second sentence in this whole spiel which is speaking uninterrupted.

I struggle with being heard which has led to my quiet observation and private outbursts. However, with my art, I can silence my audience which brings me so much joy, they can hear me speak through my art with their eyes. 

The technique that I use the most is chiaroscuro but inverted. The idea of darkening my skin is influenced by this technique, yes, but also of cultural practices. In chiaroscuro my skin is exaggerated in its tone, darkened, while everything around me from background to the fibers covering my body are extremely light. This allows the focus to go straight to my face along with leaving little to no distractions in the background.

Now the other influence is cultural and that is my fascination with Haitian folklore paintings. They will paint the figures in black or dark brown hues and it’s because of pride. It’s not to dismiss the fact that we have lighter skinned Haitians, but it’s a form of embracing who we are.

Afro Cogitatio is just that. The reflection of my blackness.

The layers of comprehension that it’s more than just the image, that it’s the thought behind the color choices as an act of fighting back stereotypes. It’s the acknowledgement of my using soft fabrics to continue on the breakdown of the Black women stereotypes. It’s the exaggeration of my skin color to continue the art practices of my culture and embrace who I am.

It’s the spiritual elements that goes within most of them when my head is covered. It’s demanding silence in all of them when I look directly at the lens of my camera or with the stillness of my body. It’s the photographs as a whole.

It’s the artworks as a whole.

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Portraiture

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I have a fixation on portraiture. I’m still exploring this, but I think it’s because I’ve always been interested in why people are how they are and that question targets someone’s identity and the best visual representation of someone’s identity is their face.

The curious it’s of wanting to know why people hate and love, why people lash out or don’t, and why people exist how they do is a concept I want to explore more.

The idea of being human.