Here are some projects that connect ideas that I’m exploring, using varied types of media.
It’s a unique experience to be Black in America. It is like living, as James Baldwin put it, in another country. This series expresses some of what that is like. It’s a unique experience to be Black in America. It is like living, as James Baldwin put it, in another country. This series expresses some of what that is like.
In Akan, Sankofa literally translates to “reach back and get it.” It relates to the concept of connectedness between ancestral past and modern-day life for African and African Diasporan people. It is the idea that despite anthropological subversion of the continuity of the histories of African peoples, there is a internal, spiritually rooted link joining us to those histories in real time – an ancient sensibility that holds the values of those long-lost traditions and rejects modern contradiction of these values, whether consciously or unconsciously.
The works presented explore the tension between that ancestral past and the demands and values of the modern-day. The main character is a historical hybrid – with her jeans, sneakers and sweatshirt, she is solidly situated in this world, but her unprocessed warrior locks and undaunted gaze harkens to a time past. Her detached head is her ori, the Yoruba word literally meaning “head,” but also referring to one’s spiritual intuition and destiny. She struggles against the rat race; and desires to enhance the connection she feels to another, deeper sense of self, defined outside the confines of modernity.
In my self-portraiture work, I am exploring how how my features reflect my ancestry, my personality, and my ethos as these things shift and change. How does my personal evolution manifest in my image? I am finding and seeking my identity via literal and conceptual reflection: What does a woman look like? What kind of woman am I?
Natural and quintessential images of my friends, family, and the people I encounter.
This is a collection of images from my 2016 trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. I traveled there in November for a month to present on a photography panel at the Black Portraiture[s] III Conference with my mentors, esteemed artists Marilyn Nance and Valerie Maynard. Through the lens of Marilyn’s work at Festac ’77, a cultural event in Nigeria that convened thousands of Black artists, we discussed the importance of Black artists in preserving and sustaining archives of Black artwork, the critical role of mentorship in Black arts communities, and the personal impact of our intergenerational legacy building.
Sometimes I work and love in Philadelphia, an intensely photogenic city whose stark, decrepit buildings vibrate with old paint and vintage signs and plainly grimy streets shrug with poverty and indifference.
In 2013, I traveled with my parents and brother to Guyana, where my family is from. The journey home had a significant anchoring effect on me – seeing my ancestral home made me feel more connected to myself. The photos presented here are my link to that home away from home (away from home).