Earlier this week I recorded an Artist Talk for my Featured show "Beads, Birds, and Blue" at Columbia City Gallery. It was really amazing to talk more in depth about my work with other Artist's as well as people who my work really resonated with. This Featured show was one that came about from the same place that all of my inspiration comes from and that is through dream work and meditation.
I have six pieces on view at the Gallery and they all represent a part of my unfolding and allowing Spirit to really come through my work. One of my main inspirations were the prayer bowls my Ancestors prayed into when they were enslaved so as not to be heard. A read through of the slave narratives gives first-hand accounts of this practice.
I pay homage to this practice with two prayer bowls. One entitled "Catching Prayers" and the other "Calling on the River". Both of these prayer bowls were my interpretation of the slave narratives as well as a book I found on my Paternal/Ancestral line that comes from Ridgeway, VA, and Martinsville, VA area. The book is called "The Hairston's: An American Family in Black and White"
During my Artist talk, I mentioned how I believe that my Ancestors were not just praying in the pots as a Christian form of worship, but also as a way to still incorporate veneration to their Ancestral deities as well. Given that they sometimes they went into the forest to pray with iron kettles and cooking pots it made me think of Ogun a West African Orisha who has a connection with iron and the forest. It was an artistic hunch that I had to follow.
Why do I go into all of this detail? Well, because simply it is where my inspiration comes from. My connection to my Ancestors.
My intention is to write more about my work on my blog as well as write more about African-American connections to beads and beadwork. More to come.