Thursday 11 August 2016

ARB Exhibiton 2016 Photos

I have lost my rhythm and routine for posting blogs. Did I ever have it?. 
There are so many distractions, and time goes by so quickly. I believe though, that it is important to keep up with it however erratic my posts might be. With a bit of discipline and determination I will get there (I will never give up trying). My exhibition was a great success. I was pleased with the overall layout of the work that I displayed. It came together and showed a strength which I had not realized was present in my work. I saw some pieces differently and they took on a whole new meaning in the venue that was the exhibition space. I have a few photos to share below.

I loved the impact that these quilts made at the entrance.
Smaller quilts on the rails.

The building has wonderful architectural qualities which complimented the work. I used the railings to hang a few quilts and the larger ones were really quite breathtaking on entering the foyer.

Ilatmal wall hanging

The floor in the photo above had a collection of  three pieces entitled I am not my hair, I explored the ideas of traditional beauty and how sometimes you are stereotyped  based purely on how you look. My inspiration was drawn from  reactions to my own hairstyle. They were behind glass so did not photograph well.They were positioned on the yellow wall.

These two pieces were placed at the end of the corridor
The small piece on left is inspired by my mother and her battle with Alzheimer's, it is a mixed media painting with images of haunting symbols which resemble African masks. Alongside this I placed "Question of a Woman" a quilt based on the Ngady masks.

The yellow wall complemented these pieces
This piece was made from handmade paper and Tyvek.
I am now looking forward to my next exhibition and hope that I am able to produce even more stimulating and thought provoking work.Finally a photo of Melissa below with a quilt I made of her using her dyed fabric, she was pleased as it made a powerful impact at the end of a dark corridor.

Melissa with a quilt made in her likeness.

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Thursday 31 March 2016

Its been a long time

It has been a long time since I sat down to write a post. Of course I have thought about doing it and have on many occasions  made attempts to write something but I never managed it until now.
So much has happened since last June, It has been a very busy ten months. There are two main opportunities which have arisen since my last blog, these have kept me away from blogging so that I could focus totally on my work. I know that many people are able to do both really well but I have not yet reached that status. I will continue trying.

In August last year I was invited to take part in an International Human Rights exhibition which is going to tour museums in the USA called Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium. I spent the latter months of the year (2015) working on a quilt which I have now sent off for the exhibition. Each artist taking part was to select one of the articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and create a quilt 50 x 50 inch inspired by it. I chose the Human Rights law which states that no one should be a slave, below I have shown a detailed section of the quilt which I will reveal completely once the exhibition begins touring. My idea looked at underage marriage and how it equates to slavery. I will dedicate a blog to the quilt explaining my thoughts and symbolism.

I have also been working towards an exhibition at the Alison Richard Building, part of the University of Cambridge which will take place from 11 April to 1 July 2016. I have completed all preparation of my work for this and it will be displayed next week. This exhibition is an important one for  me as I have been to many exhibitions at the ARB over the years and have always enjoyed the space, the building and the atmosphere. I feel really privileged to be a part of this and have always wanted to have my work shown there. 
I will continue trying to perfect my craft, sharing my knowledge with others and being true to myself.

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Wednesday 3 June 2015

Out of Africa

Thursday is the Private view for the Out of Africa Exhibition. Please come along to see the work on display and meet the artist.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Out of Africa

Today I was able to complete quilting on the piece I mentioned in my last blog, It is still not finished as I intend to repaint some of the areas of the face. It has turned out reasonably well and just needs the binding to be done. 

I have been invited to exhibit next month at The The Plough Gallery in Shrepreth. The exhibition will be called Out of Africa and Deanna Tyson who is curating the event will also be exhibiting. I have created new work for this and have a few new pieces in progress. The piece below is one of my new paintings on canvas. 

I am posting an image of The Girl Behind The Mask a quilt which I did a few years ago to show how I have used the same source of inspiration to create two very different pieces.

There is a vast difference in size, the colours are different,and the medium is too but the similarities are evident and very clear. This is why I enjoy making art, the possibilities are endless.

Saturday 18 April 2015

April Already!

Where does the time go? I have no idea, I have been working and recording my progress with my phone over the last few months, unfortunately it broke and I lost all my photos to the CLOUD...

So my plan of sharing the work as I create went out the window.Unfortunately, I still have not learnt my lesson, as I have continued taking photos with my phone when in my studio because my proper camera is not ever with me at the time, and I am always losing my phone.

One of the most recent pieces that I have been working on can be seen in the following series of photos (taken with my phone). I started off with a drawing of a young female which I had done a while ago, I enlarged it, changed her hair and transferred the drawing onto Egyptian cotton fabric.Having done some research before, I had an idea of what I wanted this piece to say,
I then began painting the skin tone and creating a 70's inspired Afro hairstyle which is supposed to be my way of connecting my ideas of old and new  (knowing that the Afro has been around for a long time even though it is back in fashion again).

I then painted the face with patterns and colours inspired from an ngady mask also known as a Kuba royal mask thought to represent the hardships of women and traditionally worn by men.

I used the bold patterns and the rich earthy colours from the mask directly onto the face to connect them. My design also includes a halo in the shape of a question mark which encourages the viewer to question this fusion (African mask with the 70,s Afro on a young woman's face) with  the strong contrasting patterns of her dress and the background. I often use the halo in my work to convey a Christian iconic connotation.

The contrasting fabric and background patterns, the painted mask patterns and the modern/ 70's hair are juxtaposed to create tension which can be interpreted as pulling these differences apart or fusing them together.This fusion of past and present can strengthen the image of the young woman depicted  and can be representative of the modern young black woman.

The final photo shows a detailed image of the piece in the early stages of quilting, 
I will post an image of the finished piece when I complete it. I have used Jacquard paints, Markal paint sticks and Madeira thread for this quilt.

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Tuesday 27 January 2015

A poem by my gifted daughter Krystal - If You Do Not See Me Smile

My blog seems to have become a showcase for my children but this poem was written by my eldest daughter Krystal. She has had difficult times in her short life but still she manages to shine. She is talented and beautiful, a wonderful mother and brilliant loving daughter. I had to share this with as many people as possible. It is full of emotion and demonstrates her gift of writing.

If You do not see me smile
Or it doesn't reach my eyes
It's because I am exhausted
Of pretense, and all the lies.
I'm dreading to be asked "are you ok? What do you need"
I say "I'm fine" when deep inside I'm screaming "To be freed".
I don't want sympathy or pity, I don't want to moan.
I don't want to be seen as weak or selfish, or to be told "you're not alone."
I feel guilty for feeling out of control, it hurts so bad, how can this be?
It feels I can't breathe and it hurts to do so, I'm tired and angry at me.
Yes I can count my blessings
Why else do you think I'm still here?
It is why I keep on going, despite the anxiety, pain and fear.
"There are so many people who are worse off"
"There are others struggling too"
"Stop being so stupid, and just get on, the world doesn't revolve around you."
Is that what everyone is thinking? I can't keep these thoughts at bay
People say "it could be worse", and it could be,
But it just doesn't feel that way.
I'm tired of wearing a mask, when behind it I'm falling apart.
But no one really wants to hear about my broken body, mind or heart.
So im sorry if you think me selfish,
melodramatic or rude,
I am not purposefully trying to be, I'm just trying to get through.
I miss my family, they are all far away and I miss the country I called home,
Despite being surrounded by people I often feel isolated and alone.
Most of the time I don't want to be seen, haggard by my mental health.
I don't ask for help because I don't want to be judged, I should just be able to do it myself.
Don't assume what you do not see or understand, all You see is the tip of an iceberg
The part submerged beneath the waves is not visible to the world.
My pregnancy isn't a burden, the pains aren't why I'm like this,
It offends me that anyone would assume that's my view when my last child is in the arms of Jesus.
I love my children beyond all words, it is they who keep me alive.
They are my little heartbeats and without them I would surely die.
If I knew how to get better, don't you think that I would say?
I hate the darkness and the sadness, of course I don't want to be this way.
If you think I can just snap out of it then you clearly don't understand.
My invisible illness is not something that is controllable or planned.
You don't have to say anything, I don't expect to be understood.
I know those that care about me do whatever they can or could.
To those who've not judged, assumed or scorned me, I really cant thank you enough.
Just treating me like a person and giving me comfort has helped me feel more tough.
Mums at school you have been a support, and even being at my lowest low
Have never said anything other than kind words of encouragement and have helped more than you could know.
I don't have the mental strength to talk about the depth of my feelings and why,
I just needed to get some of my feelings out there, and thought this was worth a try.
I'm not sure if anyone will read it, I don't know how they'll react if they do.
I'm not usually able to express feelings so personal through and through.
It's unlikely I will say anything more, as I feel vulnerable and exposed,
But I know that I will only get much worse if I keep completely closed 

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Tuesday 6 January 2015

Adam is twenty three!

Today my son Adam turned twenty three. I cannot believe that he has reached that age and  that I have been so privileged to have played a part in his development into a lovely young man. It is an absolute pleasure to have seen  him grow in confidence from a shy, quiet, young, boy into the sensitive young man that he has become. He is not as quiet now.

Adam and Becki

 I am proud of his progress at University where he is studying Architecture. His work inspires me and although he is a perfectionist (like his father) and is never satisfied with his results his work is outstanding, I am excited by his ideas and the quality of the designs he creates. I have even commissioned a new studio when he has finished his studies, not to mention a house in the Caribbean. I am truly honoured to call him my son and to have him in my life. As much as he would not like to  admit it he is a lot like me. The picture above shows him with his really lovely girlfriend, Becki, she brings out the best in him.