I will have a set of 3 new works up at the next art exhibit at the Goodfoot in SE Portland! Opening this coming Thursday, August 25th, upstairs lounge & pool room open 5pm-2:30am.
The “I Am, Therefore I Think” show will feature original works from artists all across the Portland Metro area, and will serve as a platform for creative sociopolitical, subjective/personal, expressive, and diverse commentary, questioning/challenging, and observation.
I’m excited to participate in this show, as I had been strongly affected by the ongoing shooting tragedies going on in the news over this past summer, and have been trying to come up with a creative response to the thoughts, fears and feelings that recent events had left me with. I had been encouraging those around me to do the same.
Art and creative expression can be powerfully healing, eye-opening, & transformative in the wake of tragedy, horror and the distresses of life. I haven’t been the only one, now or historically speaking, to try and find a way to process world events and personal experiences through art making. It is the basis of what I believe, and have come to know, both through direct, personal experience, through making my own work, as well as fostering and witnessing the creative works of others.
What I wound up envisioning, takes a nod from my parents’ era and the formation of art commentarists such as Leon Golub, Anselm Kiefer, Jenny Holzer, Andy Warhol and the like- but in this instance, it turns the 1950’s habit of “world culture” appropriation & exploitation on its head.
I was easily able to find some images of Adinkra, or West African cultural symbols, online. I can’t help but appreciate the almost-too-simple convenience of being able to get this info directly from an African blogger and peace activist who’s kindly made these resources freely available to the public, along with clear descriptions of the meanings they hold:
“Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Ashanti of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa. They represent concepts or aphorisms, and are extensively used in fabrics, pottery, logos and advertising.
The symbols have a decorative function but also represent objects that encapsulate evocative messages that convey traditional wisdom, aspects of life or the environment.” – Mawuna Remarque Kotounin, siliconafrica.com
From the list of symbols, I chose three which I felt represented a healing energy & commentary that could be displayed & enacted through the use of transforming them into illuminated art pieces on display. These three certainly aren’t the only ones that have such potential, but given just how many symbols I had to pick from, it provided me the luxury of fine-tuning what I wanted the artworks to convey to the viewer.
This has led to a light box series that focuses on the specific meaning of each symbol:
“NYAME NNWU NA MAWU- God Never Dies, Therefore I Cannot Die”- Mixed Media on Canvas Board, 2016
As I constructed the pieces, I noticed that the way the LED light hits the front of the piece- normally a frustrating part of the process for me to try and mitigate- actually enhances the “message” of the work in this case:
‘“I am the King, and everything comes from me, everything shall return to me. I link you with everything. Your actions affect others, no matter wherever you are. Your thoughts influence others, therefore watch over your mind. Think positively, constructively and scientifically.”
Chief of the Adinkra Symbols Symbol of greatness, charisma and leadership. This symbol is said to have played an inspiring role in the designing of other symbols. it signifies the importance of playing a leadership role.
This is a symbol of the waves of thought impulses. You are in the middle of The One Life, the Life that permeates the whole Universe. This is a wonderful opportunity offered you to positively identify yourself with Universal Mind, with the Ultimate Source of Life.”‘- Queen Nzinga Maxwell
… I love it when things come together like this!
I hope you can drop by the Goodfoot this coming Thursday evening, or any evening this coming month, to check out “I Am, Therefore I Think” & see all three of my pieces on display. May they shine a little light out into the world. I hope to explore and expand further with the light box series- stay tuned for future offerings!