I did not accept the notion or premise that I was an “artist” with the power to do what I wanted to do with my skills; or the idea of art for Art sake. When I was born the difference between African and European was magnified with the (emphasis) on who was civilized and who was not, who was smart and who was dumb. Both suffer from ignorance of each other’s heritage and one was viewed as superior and one was inferior, one had a “place” one did not. One’s art was superior and one’s was primitive and childlike, one had enslaved and colonized the other, one had assimilated the other culture, one culture was suppressed and one highlighted and taught to the other.
The views and theory about European art and artist does not hold true to my ancestors thought and philosophy about so-called art. What we were doing with our skills was recording events and information about things in the past, present or things to come. Africa, artifacts were used to convey information about a particular activity that occurred in the community … not just because the artisan was inspired to do it, but we did have an apparition for aesthetics.
Who determining what is good or bad about someone eastern culture and who should teach the meaning of art to young African children in America the dominate culture make discussions about whose cultures views are taught. Hence the concept fine art. I used my work to educate African people in particular and other people in general about Africa material culture which embodies my ancestors systems of thought and philosophy. I used my art to tell story about event that has happened in my lifetime.
GRINDApril 6th – May 19th, 2017
Curated by Inner State Gallery