Crossroads: Still we Rise: Created for the Sculpture Center and their work with Nancy Baker Cahill
Each portrait will be collaged and placed in augmented reality at the historic Forest Hill Park Foot bridge between East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights
When some of the women began to state, “I am…,” they became emotional. Who stops and takes the time to recognize their magic? With the two most powerful words to be spoken, I merely tapped into it. I hope that process spreads like wildfire to others. I hope they continue to state who they are.
When I teach, I try to embody that into the youngsters to build their self-esteem. It is a practice I have in all of my classes. Each student has to state who they are by saying I am. They do this first in writing. When they stand before everyone to declare it, those “I AM” statements find the energy and infect that person with the ability to stand their ground in knowing themselves better than anyone. A bully cannot penetrate their bubble when they affirm who they are. Their true friends cannot be complicit in the bullying when they heard those statements because they were there to bear witness to those affirmations.
Being BIPOC and living in a community that is reduced to a flippant remark is not exemplary of the people that live, work, and raise the next generation. We can point to the problems and offer a myriad of solutions until we are blue in the face. We cannot afford to remain in the same mindset that makes us less than the circumstances we are surrounded by. I chose a bridge in a space that separates two different communities and is fertile on both sides for a reason. The grass is green within us. We have to grow despite, and in some cases, because of the situations, we have been placed in. I am going to be the change I want to see. I am powerful enough to find a way through the darkness. I am, period.
My day, like many single parents, is intricately intertwined with that of my child. Before August 18 it was a delicate balance of madness and calm. Years of preparation for the moment she begins to learn to be on her own came and went in an instant. No tears, just an emptiness filled with a need to find my way. No one prepares you for all the things that are not in place because space was filled with sacrifice. Music fills that void and Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight became the thing that explained what I felt without words.
Her smile is woven into the fabric of my being. Through the joy, tears, and screams I am hopelessly connected and separate from her dreams. With love and fear, I send her into the world. As it should be.
This is one image of four from the series presented here. They 20×24, handwoven photographic pieces created for the Yards Project in 2019. Each image can be found on my website. They are $500 a piece
This series was born from a long standing friendship between three young women. This series was a documentation at the age of 18 before they all went off to college in the Fall of 2019. I have watched all of them grow up through their connection to my daughter. The title of the piece is from a Fugees song by the same name. It represents how all parties feel in response to them leaving. Is the world ready, are we, are they? Covid made everything standstill for a moment but they continue to blossom in light of it all.
This is a photographic series of 15 images. Started in 2018
Here is apart of the lyrics:
Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide Gonna find you and take it slowly Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide Gonna find you and make you want me.
This image was presented in the CAN journal in the summer of 2020.
I have taken childhood sayings and fairytales and turned them upside down to explore how people develop. The phrase, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, and See No Evil is so contextually layered that little needs to be done to it to fully exercise its demons. If you were taught this phrase as I child, its meaning lies in what your parents have taught you. It is this kind of baggage that needs to be dealt with as human beings to move forward. There’s an interplay between the phrase’s moral and or immoral tone. It can come down to something as simple as standing up for justice and action behind the words. In alignment with the black experience amid COVID, it states what does not happen that has to happen. They don’t hear, speak, or see us when we cry out in pain. We grow silent and erupt in waves of protests. We no longer want to hear, speak, or see the actions of others that continue to validate hate and oppression of others. At every turn of this phrase, there is a choice. Where do we place ourselves in the context of this saying? How do we see ourselves?
Archival Digital Image created in 2020 and is 20×48 and can be larger.