H.N.I.C. : Head nigga in charge #1; 2018.
       
     
H.N.I.C.: head nigga in charge #2; 2018.
       
     
H.N.I.C. 2018.
       
     
H.N.I.C. (detail)
       
     
Alabama Black Snake, 2018.
       
     
Alabama Black Snake (detail)
       
     
Ossabaw Island; 2016.
       
     
Whip; 2018. serigraph on paper, and bullwhip. 19" x 30".
       
     
Whip; 2018. Serigraph on paper, and bullwhip.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.
       
     
Twice as Good #'s 1-2; 2018.
       
     
Twice as Good #1; 2018. Serigraph on paper; 24" x 25".
       
     
Twice as Good #2; 2018. Serigraph on paper; 24" x 25".
       
     
Twice as Good (detail)
       
     
Haulin' Ass; 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass; 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.
       
     
Auntie Rosetta's Stone; 2018.
       
     
Auntie Rosetta's Stone (detail)
       
     
Auntie Rosetta's Stone (detail)
       
     
To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'
       
     
To Trap A Trickster
       
     
To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'
       
     
To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'
       
     
To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2018.
       
     
To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2017.
       
     
To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2017-18'
       
     
Constellation; 2013-16'.
       
     
Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (detail)
       
     
Poetics of the Disembodied; 2016.
       
     
Tight Packers: A Depleted Harvest; 2015-16'
       
     
Tight Packers: A Depleted Harvest; 2016.
       
     
Tight Packers (excerpts); 2016.
       
     
Grounded; 2016.
       
     
Poetics of the Disembodied (installation view); 2016
       
     
Poetics of the Disembodied; 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price; 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price; 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price (detail); 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price (excerpt); 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price (excerpt); 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price (performance Still); 2016.
       
     
       
     
A Snare for Ezekiel Charles, 2016.
       
     
A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail); 2016.
       
     
A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail)
       
     
A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail)
       
     
Root/Anchor & A Sentiment
       
     
A Sentiment; 2015.
       
     
Root/Anchor after Gober; 2016.
       
     
Listeners/Witnesses of the Trade; 2016.
       
     
       
     
Poetics of the Disembodied (installation view); MOCA GA; 2016.
       
     
To Cut; 2013.
       
     
To Cut (detail); 2012.
       
     
Baggage; 2012.
       
     
For Elias and Sarah; 2011.
       
     
Root/Memory; 2012.
       
     
To Bear Witness; 2012.
       
     
To Bear Witness; 2012.
       
     
Bent Screw; 2018. pen and ink on paper; steel screw; pillow; serigraph on fabric.
       
     
Bent Screw (detail); 2018.  pen and ink on paper; pillow; steel screw; and serigraph on fabric.
       
     
Can you Degg It!?, 2018.
       
     
Can You Degg It!? (detail)
       
     
Hard Head makes a Soft Butt; 2018.
       
     
Hard head makes a soft butt (detail); 2018.
       
     
Snip/Hive; 2017-18'
       
     
Snip/Hive (detail)
       
     
Snip/Hive (detail); 2018.
       
     
Blocked at Five Points (performance still); presented at Lines of Influence: The Jacob Lawrence Symposium; SCAD Museum of Art; 2017.
       
     
Blocked at Five Points (performance still)
       
     
To Gut; 2012.
       
     
To Gut (detail); 2012.
       
     
Writers Block; 2016.
       
     
The Ballad of Raymond Sanders (excerpts Writers Block); 2015.
       
     
Ballad of Raymond Sanders (detail); 2015.
       
     
A Letter for Ashley (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Ashley (detail); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Milton (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Milton (detail); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Vivian (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Vivian (detail); 2016.
       
     
The Weight of Memory; 2012.
       
     
The Weight of Memory (detail); 2012.
       
     
Processional; 2011.
       
     
       
     
H.N.I.C. : Head nigga in charge #1; 2018.
       
     
H.N.I.C. : Head nigga in charge #1; 2018.

Where does power reside, and what illusions do we accept about its dominion? How does the seduction of perceived power compromise our integrity, and our humanity? How does the imprint of historical trauma carve fault lines in the soul and taint our perceptions of one another and ourselves? These questions haunt me, and form the conceptual anchor for this work.

H.N.I.C.: head nigga in charge #2; 2018.
       
     
H.N.I.C.: head nigga in charge #2; 2018.

Where does power reside, and what illusions do we accept about its dominion? How does the seduction of perceived power compromise our integrity, and our humanity? How does the imprint of historical trauma carve fault lines in the soul and taint our perceptions of one another and ourselves? These questions haunt me, and form the conceptual anchor for this work.

H.N.I.C. 2018.
       
     
H.N.I.C. 2018.

serigraph on paper; 25 x 26 inches.

H.N.I.C., is the acronym for the expression ‘Head Nigga in Charge.’ The term is widely used in certain segments of the black community to refer to African Americans in positions of authority. Historically it was used in a pejorative sense to ridicule token blacks placed in nominal positions of responsibility to reinforce an illusion of agency when power, in it’s material iteration, ultimately resided in someone else’s hands. I have used the phrase in this work, to link the past to the present by juxtaposing an image of myself as a slave driver in the first panel, and as a business man in the second panel. The hands resting on my shoulders suggest an enduring conflation of race and power.

H.N.I.C. (detail)
       
     
H.N.I.C. (detail)

serigraph on paper

Alabama Black Snake, 2018.
       
     
Alabama Black Snake, 2018.

Photo lithography on paper

Alabama Black Snake explores the historical paranoia surrounding the black male body in the white imagination. The irrational fear of black men, and the association of their bodies, with predatory, ravenous intent, fomented a set of racist tropes, which fed the blood lust of lynching mobs throughout the south. The castration of thousands of victims; the stuffing of the dismembered genitals in the mouths of the dead and dying, revealed both a revulsion of, and an obsessive fascination for the black male reproductive organ.

Alabama Black Snake (detail)
       
     
Alabama Black Snake (detail)

serigraph on paper

Ossabaw Island; 2016.
       
     
Ossabaw Island; 2016.

This image was taken on historic Ossabaw Island off the coast of Georgia. The island was home to a large population of enslaved Africans in the 19th century. This Gullah community harvested indigo and sea island cotton in relative isolation from the mainland, and produced a rich African based cultural expression that has endured and flourished on nearby islands such as Sapelo, and St. Helena. Ossabaw is now primarily a research based property, managed by the state. This image represents the trickster Orisha or diety Legba, who ranks prominently among the Yoruba religious system of deities. Taken in the shadow of three preserved slave cabins, the photograph is intended to emphasize the enduring cultural imprint which arrived on these shores embedded in the DNA of the captured African.

Whip; 2018. serigraph on paper, and bullwhip. 19" x 30".
       
     
Whip; 2018. serigraph on paper, and bullwhip. 19" x 30".

This work conflates meanings by juxtaposing two iterations of the term whip, to reveal how language can function as an indicator of multiple meanings—one implying the painful legacy of slavery; the other, a cool way of referring to one’s car in southern black vernacular.

Whip; 2018. Serigraph on paper, and bullwhip.
       
     
Whip; 2018. Serigraph on paper, and bullwhip.
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.

handmade ballot box, and table; forged steel; cast resin; paint; brass pad lock; 15 x 28 x 55 inches.

Inspired in part, by Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech Give us the ballot, and Malcolm X’s speech The Ballot or the Bullet, this work renders the right to vote as an action fraught with existential risk. Historically, this has not been a hyperbolic conjecture when it comes to black folk. Many African Americans were murdered simply for trying to exercise their constitutional right. The contemporary practice of gerrymandering which has deep roots that extend to Jim Crow practices, threatens to render mute the voices of the marginalized and the dispossessed. The AND in the title links the philosophical ideas of King’s words to those of Malcolm’s. It is a reckoning with the inherent threats associated with the act of voting—some historical; some contemporary.

The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, (detail), 2018.
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.
       
     
The Ballot AND the Bullet, 2018.
Twice as Good #'s 1-2; 2018.
       
     
Twice as Good #'s 1-2; 2018.

Serigraph on paper; dimensions: 23.5” x 26”, 24” x 26”

Twice as Good, renders how language has been used historically, within the black community, to instruct through humor and sardonic wit. it is a brilliant example of encoded meaning so common to black vernacular. Its roots extend to slavery—the need to develop a complex system of meaning to conceal intent and preserve secrecy. It is a sobering lesson meant to temper ambition, and prepare black children for the harsh realities facing them in a racist society.

Twice as Good #1; 2018. Serigraph on paper; 24" x 25".
       
     
Twice as Good #1; 2018. Serigraph on paper; 24" x 25".
Twice as Good #2; 2018. Serigraph on paper; 24" x 25".
       
     
Twice as Good #2; 2018. Serigraph on paper; 24" x 25".
Twice as Good (detail)
       
     
Twice as Good (detail)

serigraph on paper

Haulin' Ass; 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass; 2018.

silkscreen on paper; handmade wagon; donkey figurine, and book; Dimensions: wagon: w 15” x L 56” x h 24”

Sometimes it seems like we are always running—trying to free ourselves of some predetermined destiny—not of our own making—it tracks us, nips at our heals; haunts us. This work investigates the malleability of language vis-a-vis the black vernacular tradition—how meaning is not a fixed construct, but rather a fluid, ever evolving system of signs, one of which, can signify multiple meanings. The word pun haulin’ ass is interpreted objectively and metaphorically here—the juxtaposition of the twin iterations conflates the realities of police brutality and the sly wit of the literal representation of the phrase.

Haulin' Ass; 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass; 2018.

This work investigates the malleability of language vis-a-vis the black vernacular tradition—how meaning is not a fixed construct, but rather a fluid, ever evolving system of signs, one of which, can signify multiple meanings. The word pun haulin’ ass is interpreted objectively and metaphorically here—the juxtaposition of the twin iterations conflates the realities of police brutality and the sly wit of the literal representation of the phrase.

Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.

donkey figurine; copy of Manchild in the Promised Land

Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.

serigraph on paper; 19” x 23.5”.

Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.
       
     
Haulin' Ass (detail); 2018.

serigraph on paper

Auntie Rosetta's Stone; 2018.
       
     
Auntie Rosetta's Stone; 2018.

graphite and polymergravure on paper; 16 x 2.5 x 28 inches.

Language is a code; a system of signs and signifiers that carry the liguistic DNA of a people. This work re-imagines the ancient Rosetta stone of Kush or Egypt as the conceptual key for unlocking the complex, reflexive, improvisational; and multivalent elements of black colloquial expressions. The old woman is a keeper of memory. She guards what is hidden, and transmits only to the sincere, the secrets she holds.

Auntie Rosetta's Stone (detail)
       
     
Auntie Rosetta's Stone (detail)

graphite on paper

Auntie Rosetta's Stone (detail)
       
     
Auntie Rosetta's Stone (detail)

polymergravure on paper

To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'
       
     
To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'

photo projection; audio file; wood; copper leaf; ceramics; paint; earth, and rope

Inspired in part, by the complicity of the Catholic church in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, this multi-media work casts the iconic Christian dome structure of Portugal, as a trapping device. A photo projection of a slave ship is framed by the dome's base. The black rabbit references Legba, the Yoruba trickster diety. He is the conceptual inspiration of the Brer Rabbit tales and Bugs Bunny. In the context of this work, the hare represents the millions of enslaved Africans imported via the port of Salvador, Brazil. The work renders the tension between the greed of the state and the determination of an oppressed people to resist.

To Trap A Trickster
       
     
To Trap A Trickster
To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'
       
     
To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'
To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'
       
     
To Trap a Trickster; 2017-18'
To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2018.
       
     
To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2018.
To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2017.
       
     
To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2017.

copper leaf on wood

To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2017-18'
       
     
To Trap a Trickster (detail); 2017-18'

ceramic; paint; rope, and earth

Constellation; 2013-16'.
       
     
Constellation; 2013-16'.

Spanning 72 inches in diameter Constellation attempts to articulate the anxiety of black boys existing in spaces of tension between points of safety and threatened destruction. The disembodied feet are placed at the vortex of a series of hive-like structures (made of joined and carved wood covered with hair; copper sheeting; cotton; red clay; paint; cloth; and wax. The forms operate multivalently suggesting domesticity and community on the one hand, and--as their conical, projectile like shape implies--potential annihilation on the other. The absent figure exists in this "oscillating space of engaged tensions", as the writer and critic Kellie Jones so eloquently articulates it. The materials tie the work to a historical narrative rooted in physical labor while the disembodied feet imply an erasure of identity.

Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (detail)

cast resin; pigment, and wood

Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)

cotton, and rope

Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (detail)
Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)

wood, and red clay

Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (detail)
Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)

turned wood, and pigment

Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)

wood, and copper sheeting

Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (detail)
Constellation (excerpt)
       
     
Constellation (excerpt)

wood, and hair

Constellation (detail)
       
     
Constellation (detail)
Poetics of the Disembodied; 2016.
       
     
Poetics of the Disembodied; 2016.
Tight Packers: A Depleted Harvest; 2015-16'
       
     
Tight Packers: A Depleted Harvest; 2015-16'

49x4x122 inches. Tight Packers takes its conceptual inspiration from a 19th century term used to refer to a method for packing slaving vessels that relied on forcing as many people as possible into the hold of the ship to maximize profit at port. The practice was ill conceived however as the crowded conditions made the ships breeding grounds of pestilence and disease. I have appropriated the term here to refer to the disproportionate number of black and brown men confined in U.S. prisons. Composed of 90 sardines cans--fitted with graphite renderings of black men and inscribed with prison identification numbers--the confined spaces collapse time as they link the marginalized places black bodies were forced to dwell in the past to those in the present. The class graduation photo at the heart of the installation is augmented by the ghostly registry of the missing. The silhouettes articulate our collective sense of loss of potential--of human capital--of our most precious resource.

Tight Packers: A Depleted Harvest; 2016.
       
     
Tight Packers: A Depleted Harvest; 2016.
Tight Packers (excerpts); 2016.
       
     
Tight Packers (excerpts); 2016.

Graphite on wood and tin

Grounded; 2016.
       
     
Grounded; 2016.

36x18x144 inches. Inspired by a passage from Isabel Wilkerson's extraordinary book The Warmth of Other Suns, this mixed media work speaks to the legacy of economic disenfranchisement inherited by the descendants of enslaved African Americans. The plane personifies an aspirational impulse for transcendence, but in the context of this work it is weighed down by a burden that impedes its ascension. The oversized cotton sack is tethered to the tail section rendering the vehicle inert. The sculpture subverts the inference that the disproportionate representation of African Americans amongst the poor represents a predisposition towards poverty. The reality is quite different. In a moving section of the book Wilkerson writes: "Multiplied over generations, it (slavery and Jim Crow) would mean a wealth deficit between the races that would require a miracle windfall or a near asceticism on the part of colored families if they were to have any chance of catching up..."

Poetics of the Disembodied (installation view); 2016
       
     
Poetics of the Disembodied (installation view); 2016
Poetics of the Disembodied; 2016.
       
     
Poetics of the Disembodied; 2016.
Freedoms Price; 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price; 2016.
Freedoms Price; 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price; 2016.

forged steel; resin; serigraph on wood; stones; salvaged wood flooring; drinking fountain; spigot; segregation sign; dimensions are variable. Description: Conceived to honor the freedom riders whose non-violent protest was waged to integrate interstate busing, this sprawling installation is composed of a series of ten silk screened mugshot images of protesters arranged sequentially--each with a loaded slingshot facing them. At the heart of the installation a dividing wall separates a porcelain drinking fountain from a spigot. Above, a vintage segregation sign designates white and colored only. Clusters of stones rest on the floor beneath the photographs suggesting the blows endured to actualize a higher ideal. The work is augmented by a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King; "unearned suffering is redemptive."

Freedoms Price (detail); 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price (detail); 2016.
Freedoms Price (excerpt); 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price (excerpt); 2016.

serigraph and resin on wood panel

Freedoms Price (excerpt); 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price (excerpt); 2016.

serigraph and resin on wood panel

Freedoms Price (performance Still); 2016.
       
     
Freedoms Price (performance Still); 2016.
       
     
Blocked at Five Points Performance; 2016

As the on-air host for the PBS documentary 37 Weeks: Sherman on the March--which chronicles Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s “march to the sea”—I was absolutely astonished to learn that the buying and selling of human beings took place at Five Points MARTA Station in Atlanta, the symbolic locale where north, south, east, and west meet, and yet there is no historical marker or public indicator of any kind to honor those unknown souls who passed from auction block to plantation at the heart of Atlanta’s public transportation corridor. Equally troubling is that the Margaret Mitchell House, located less than two and half miles away, preserves the memory of the author of the celebrated novel Gone With the Wind which features a slave mammy as one of the central characters of the book. The juxtaposition of these two lived realities—one institutionalized and preserved; the other lost and forgotten—represents Atlanta’s inability to reconcile its present day identity with its troubled past. More specifically it is emblematic of a systematic attempt to control the historical narrative through a process of memory erasure. Blocked at Five Points aspires to arrest our predisposition to forget our past by drawing attention to slavery’s proximity to our present.

A Snare for Ezekiel Charles, 2016.
       
     
A Snare for Ezekiel Charles, 2016.

Charcoal and powdered graphite on wood; steel chain; animal snare, and mulch.

17” x 80” x 72”

A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail); 2016.
       
     
A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail); 2016.

charcoal on wood

A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail)
       
     
A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail)

wood; powdered charcoal and graphite with steel chain

A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail)
       
     
A Snare for Ezekiel Charles (detail)

mulch, and animal snare

Root/Anchor & A Sentiment
       
     
Root/Anchor & A Sentiment
A Sentiment; 2015.
       
     
A Sentiment; 2015.

Made of forged steel, cast resin hands, charred rope and a pillow, this work attempts to contextualize the burden of bearing difficult memories. The black hands cradle the partially charred rope fragment. The torched hemp suggests a painful recollection without being specific. Does it refer to a lynching or some other memory? The pillow is a mothering apparatus which supports and comforts the grief of the living--those left to bear the weight of memory.

Root/Anchor after Gober; 2016.
       
     
Root/Anchor after Gober; 2016.

resin; woven dread locks; steel anchor

Root/Anchor after Gober references the grounding force of cultural memory. The rope--made of woven hair--speaks to the interdependence of community.  The anchor tethers the collective to ancestral memory while the cast foot implies an impulse for mobility.

Listeners/Witnesses of the Trade; 2016.
       
     
Listeners/Witnesses of the Trade; 2016.

resin; clam shells; sand; video footage; audio.

Description: Inspired by the Gullah Geechie communities of the Georgia sea islands, this mixed media installation is meant to honor the spirits of the millions of Africans who died in transport to the 'new world.' The clam shells are fitted with cast resin ears which are placed on a bed of sand sourced from Sapelo island, home to an enduring Gullah community that maintains a culture closely linked to West Africa. The time lapse video of the encroaching sea suggests the watery grave of the dead. The audio recording of the seashore sets a rhythmic meter as the voice of a young girl chanting an Islamic prayer can be heard over it. The work affirms the history of Islam in America as nearly one third of Africans forced into slavery were Muslims. The first slave bought to Sapelo was a man named Bilal which literally translates to 'the first to believe in the Prophet.'

       
     
Witnesses Listeners of the Trade by Masud Olufani
Poetics of the Disembodied (installation view); MOCA GA; 2016.
       
     
Poetics of the Disembodied (installation view); MOCA GA; 2016.
To Cut; 2013.
       
     
To Cut; 2013.

Carved bass wood; woven dread locks; shears; paint, and wax.

This work combines a playful gesture with a harsh reality. The jump rope is made of woven dreadlocks referencing the familial bond. The disembodied hands, made of carved bass wood, wield the rope in a 'ready' position. The shears threaten to sever connection. The impending action heightens the tension between the child-like activity of jumping rope and the betrayal of innocence. 

 

To Cut (detail); 2012.
       
     
To Cut (detail); 2012.

woven dread locks, and shears

Baggage; 2012.
       
     
Baggage; 2012.

trumpet; serigraph on cloth, and suitcase.

This mixed medium work contextualizes the itinerant life of a traveling musician and the impact that lifestyle has on relationships. The open suitcase is screen printed with a letter that attempts to comfort the loved ones left behind. The suitcase becomes a mediator of competing impulses: one that necessitates the sustained mobility the life of a blues man demands; the other longing for the stability of enduring connections.

For Elias and Sarah; 2011.
       
     
For Elias and Sarah; 2011.

Forged steel; wood; clothe bags; cotton; tobacco; coffee; serigraph on fabric; dye, and rust; 72 inches high.

Based in part on the schematic renderings of slavery punishment apparatus from the 19th century, this work reinterprets the brutal nature of the steel collar transforming into into a symbol of nobility and dignity. The abstracted figures--one male, and one female--are draped in a seamless skin of cloth pouches stuffed with cotton; coffee, and tobacco. The images of enslaved African Americans have been silk screened on the surface, and rust and dye has been used to age the fabric. The forms echo religious figurines known as nkisi nkondi from the Kongo people of Central Africa.

Root/Memory; 2012.
       
     
Root/Memory; 2012.

Cast bronze, and woven dread locks.  

The cast bronze house is a reproduction of a slave cabin while the woven basket form serves as a trapping device that arrests memory and preserves ancestral history.

To Bear Witness; 2012.
       
     
To Bear Witness; 2012.

Wood;steel; resin; sugar; nutmeg; cinnamon; paint, and small bible. 

Inspired in part by the fallacious notion that children should 'be seen and not heard', this mixed media work was created to amplify the muted voice of a child. The megaphone and witness stand are scaled to the average height of a seven year old.  The disembodied feet are made of resin; cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar, echoing the popular nursery rhyme that children ' are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.'  The bright red megaphone is a declarative statement--an apparatus that serves to validate a child's perspective.  The work is augmented by a small bible placed on the arm rest of the witness stand. 

To Bear Witness; 2012.
       
     
To Bear Witness; 2012.
Bent Screw; 2018. pen and ink on paper; steel screw; pillow; serigraph on fabric.
       
     
Bent Screw; 2018. pen and ink on paper; steel screw; pillow; serigraph on fabric.

The title of this work refers to corrupt public officials. A common street name for police officers, in certain communities, was the term screw, as in one who applies pressure. A bent screw then, is one who is unethical in the manner in which one applies said pressure.

Bent Screw (detail); 2018.  pen and ink on paper; pillow; steel screw; and serigraph on fabric.
       
     
Bent Screw (detail); 2018. pen and ink on paper; pillow; steel screw; and serigraph on fabric.
Can you Degg It!?, 2018.
       
     
Can you Degg It!?, 2018.

pen and ink, and serigraph on paper; red clay, and charcoal on shovel

Can You Degg It!? (detail)
       
     
Can You Degg It!? (detail)

pen and ink on paper

Hard Head makes a Soft Butt; 2018.
       
     
Hard Head makes a Soft Butt; 2018.

leather strap; nail head; pillow, and serigraph on fabric.

I heard this expression many times growing up. It was one of my father’s go to warnings, derived from his childhood in central Texas. It is a cautionary injunction against stubbornness, and the consequences associated with obstinacy—an ass whipping.

19” x 25”

Hard head makes a soft butt (detail); 2018.
       
     
Hard head makes a soft butt (detail); 2018.
Snip/Hive; 2017-18'
       
     
Snip/Hive; 2017-18'

graphite, resin, paper, steel chain, red clay, and audio file, 2017, the dimensions are variable.

Description: Snip/Hive, alludes to the determination of stressed communities to maintain cohesive connections. The hive form rests on a bed of red clay beneath a tree branch anchored to the gallery wall. The object, having survived the blunt force trauma of the fall, embodies unified purpose and determination. The structure is covered with renderings of ancestral family members while the bees cluster around the object forming an organic skin of protection and communal care. The insects gather reverentially around the drawings of the eldest members of the family as though paying homage to a legacy of interdependence and endurance.

Snip/Hive (detail)
       
     
Snip/Hive (detail)

graphite, resin, paper, steel chain, red clay, and audio file, 2017, the dimensions are variable.

Description: Snip/Hive, alludes to the determination of stressed communities to maintain cohesive connections. The hive form rests on a bed of red clay beneath a tree branch anchored to the gallery wall. The object, having survived the blunt force trauma of the fall, embodies unified purpose and determination. The structure is covered with renderings of ancestral family members while the bees cluster around the object forming an organic skin of protection and communal care. The insects gather reverentially around the drawings of the eldest members of the family as though paying homage to a legacy of interdependence and endurance.

Snip/Hive (detail); 2018.
       
     
Snip/Hive (detail); 2018.

resin; graphite on paper, and beeswax

Blocked at Five Points (performance still); presented at Lines of Influence: The Jacob Lawrence Symposium; SCAD Museum of Art; 2017.
       
     
Blocked at Five Points (performance still); presented at Lines of Influence: The Jacob Lawrence Symposium; SCAD Museum of Art; 2017.

Film; photo montage; performance

As the on-air host for the PBS documentary 37 Weeks: Sherman on the March--which chronicles Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s “march to the sea”—I was absolutely astonished to learn that the buying and selling of human beings took place at Five Points MARTA Station in Atlanta, the symbolic locale where north, south, east, and west meet, and yet there is no historical marker or public indicator of any kind to honor those unknown souls who passed from auction block to plantation at the heart of Atlanta’s public transportation corridor.  Equally troubling is that the Margaret Mitchell House, located less than two and half miles away, preserves the memory of the author of the celebrated novel Gone With the Wind which features a slave mammy as one of the central characters of the book. The juxtaposition of these two lived realities—one institutionalized and preserved; the other lost and forgotten—represents Atlanta’s inability to reconcile its present day identity with its troubled past. More specifically it is emblematic of a systematic attempt to control the historical narrative through a process of memory erasure. Blocked at Five Points aspires to arrest our predisposition to forget our past by drawing attention to slavery’s proximity to our present.

Blocked at Five Points (performance still)
       
     
Blocked at Five Points (performance still)
To Gut; 2012.
       
     
To Gut; 2012.

wood; steel; serigraph on wood; paint; saw dust, and cross saw.

Inspired by the childhood experience of divorce, this work seeks to represent the fragility of an unstable home life and the role both parties play in its destruction. The exterior of the wood frame house bears the haunting images of several pairs of children's eyes--witnesses of an unfolding process they are powerless to prevent. The cross saw bisects the structure, its twin handles implying it takes two to complete the task. The line of saw dust on the ground traces the saws path.

To Gut (detail); 2012.
       
     
To Gut (detail); 2012.

silkscreen on wood

Writers Block; 2016.
       
     
Writers Block; 2016.
The Ballad of Raymond Sanders (excerpts Writers Block); 2015.
       
     
The Ballad of Raymond Sanders (excerpts Writers Block); 2015.

pen and ink on paper; typewriter, and shelf.

Ballad of Raymond Sanders (detail); 2015.
       
     
Ballad of Raymond Sanders (detail); 2015.
A Letter for Ashley (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Ashley (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.

pen and ink on paper; typewriter, and shelf

A Letter for Ashley (detail); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Ashley (detail); 2016.
A Letter for Milton (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Milton (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.

pen and ink on paper; typewriter, and shelf

A Letter for Milton (detail); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Milton (detail); 2016.
A Letter for Vivian (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Vivian (Writers Block excerpt); 2016.

pen and ink on paper; typewriter, and shelf

A Letter for Vivian (detail); 2016.
       
     
A Letter for Vivian (detail); 2016.

pen and ink on paper

The Weight of Memory; 2012.
       
     
The Weight of Memory; 2012.

Forged steel; carved bass wood; radio flyer; pillow; cotton, and rust.

Inspired in part by the life story of the venerated Brazilian saint Escrava Anastacia--who was an enslaved women tortured to death by being forced to wear a steel device that prevented her from eating--this work seeks to contextualize the burden of passing difficult memories from one generation to the next. The radio flyer embodies a small child forced to bear the weight of the past and the hard and necessary lessons encoded within it.

The Weight of Memory (detail); 2012.
       
     
The Weight of Memory (detail); 2012.
Processional; 2011.
       
     
Processional; 2011.

Wood; sea salt; coal; sugar;coffee; red clay; nails; cloth; cotton; rope; silk screen on cloth, and rust.

       
     
Freeing Ourselves of the Stain of Racism | Masud Olufani

A public address given at the Annual Arizona Baha’i Conference