This series of work begins with four (40”x60”) realistically rendered portraits, created using chalk pastel and charcoal pencil on black matte board. This work was inspired by a combination of ideas following my experience in and around Port Elizabeth and Joe Slovo Township, South Africa, 2015 and 2017.
This work was inspired by my interest in the effects of oppression and social stigma experienced during and after Apartheid, and the connection to personal identity and self-perception. I chose to work on black matte board to symbolize the shame imposed for having “black” skin, but developed the portraits in saturated color and layers of texture to symbolize the vibration of Life and Strength still present in the spirit, in spite of. The genocide and mistreatment of Black and Brown people throughout history (and the social injustices that continue to happen right in front of our eyes AND in our own backyards) has done much damage… has caused much suffering. Through my work, I wanted to conceptually go into the darkness of suffering, and bring awareness into the light. It is time for healing. It is time for transformation. The only response to outrageous pain and outrageous suffering, is outrageous LOVE. It is our responsibility to recognize privilege (in all forms), to see injustice, and to speak up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.
Your job is not to judge. Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.