African wax, kente, batik, and tie-dye fabrics on canvas. 55 x 40 inches 2016
The idea of “We the people Matter most” came about in 2016 during one of my story circles, participants most of whom Immigrants, Colored and Black shared personal stories informed by a complex view of their American experience.
By the end of the story circle I was inspired to create a body of work which honors marginalized communities in the United State.
The new symbols honors and tell stories of marginalized, immigrants colored and Blacks, particularly women, whose labor and impact necessary to their families and communities go unrecognized.
I used glue to assemble on canvas, more than one hundred and seventy scraps of African wax, kente, Batik, and tie dye fabrics collected from seamstresses across Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and New York. Through an interactive process that demonstrates a commitment to community, self-love and appreciation of cultural historical references informed by a complex view of the African and African American experience.
Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas. Size 51x36 inches. 2018
Mama Ubuntu is an interpretation of the Statue of Liberty to reflect and celebrate the diverse communities in New York, while honoring the marginalized, and immigrants particularly women, whose toil and impact goes unappreciated.
The portrait is created with features of my mother Hajia Mariam and three incredible women (Stephanie Alvarado, Janelle Naomi and Antoinette R. Hamilton) whose friendship and conversations have expanded my understanding of the African and African American experiences, and reminding me of the wisdom of my mother and braveness of Ghanaian Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa.
Her pose in front of a scene from Black Panther movie with the ankh embodies life, wisdom, beauty, confidence, strength, leadership, womanhood, and power.
The piece also references Nana Yaa Asantewaa’s leadership, she was the first and only woman war-leader in Asante history who led an army of 5,000 during the Ashanti-British War of the Golden Stool also known as the "Yaa Asantewaa War” when the British exiled King of Ashante, Nana Prempeh I to the Seychelles Island in 1896, along with other chiefs and members of the Asante government, she stood and bravely addressed the members of the council with her famous words, “How can proud and brave people like the Asantes sit back and look while Whiteman took away their king and chiefs and humiliated them with a demand for the Golden Stool. The Golden Stool only means money to the whiteman; they have searched and dug everywhere for it. I shall not pay one predwan to the governor. If you, the chiefs of Asante, are going to behave like cowards and not fight, you should exchange your loincloths for my undergarments.”