I explore the African and African American experience through story. My chosen media, American gourds and African calabashes, offer a three-dimensional canvas that connects me to the land and stories that inspire me.
Stories drive me. My early work was inspired by stories from West African religion and mythology. In recent years, my focus has shifted to sharing stories that connect to my ancestral past and capture my experiences as an African American woman. My public arts projects – I’ve designed and overseen several multimedia installations – are inspired by the stories of the communities in which they reside.
Using a power tool, I carve images and words into gourds. I use vibrant acrylic paint to add depth and detail.
- 2019: Arts & Science Council David B. Waymer Recreation Center (Charlotte, North Carolina): “Community” rail artwork, 2019
- 2010: Charlotte Area Transit System (Charlotte, North Carolina): “On the Move”: Uptown to Airport neighborhood-themed bus shelters for Sprinter Enhanced Bus Line
- 2004: North Carolina Visual Artist Fellowship recipient, North Carolina Arts Council
- 1995-1996 North Carolina Visual Artist Fellowship recipient, North Carolina Arts Council
- 1993: Arts International Travel Grant, to study directly under elder gourd artists in Nigeria, Africa. This project took place in Nigeria to connect me to a culture I’ve studied and represented in my own work in this country. I traveled to the town of Kano to study Islamic techniques and design, and to the town of Oyo, which is the seat of Yoruba culture, to learn traditional styles and religious functions of the gourd.