” These Memories Bear Traces Of Tears: ” Relief Reliquaries/Ex-Voto.
2016 turned out to be a year of unexpected highs and life altering lows. I was honored with a national “Jefferson Award” for longtime work as a cultural steward, bestowed a second Arts Council of Indianapolis, “Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship,” and received an Indiana Minority Business Magazine – History Makers, Golden Laurel Professional Award. My work was featured in the Koehnline Museum of Art, and in the HAAN Mansion Museum of Art’s presentation of “The Many Faces Of Indiana Art,” among a number of exciting opportunities to expose my artwork to a wider spectrum of audience.
During this timeline my birth parents passed within months of each other…my heart was completely crushed. Even though I am a “woman of a certain age,” I have had few dealings with death, many of my family, friends and associates are thriving. The subject of death is not often mentioned among creative people of color in Indianapolis or if so, in a very brief manner. I have come away from this past several years with a much deeper understanding of the finite time that we have here on earth, an increased awareness, intrigue and greater acceptance of mortality and the process of grieving. I sought to share this insight which has enlightened me and many others significantly.
I am so very grateful for the funding that I received to create the original series (currently ongoing) of sculptural stylized, relief retablos/ex-voto artpieces in honor of my loved ones, of memory, spirit, sorrow, dispossession..my inner child’s utter loneliness, the very act of death itself as well as the stinging acceptance of life passing on. These variant dimensional artpieces are healing cathartic expressions of my loss which helps the onlooker to gain greater understanding of the end of life for those among us who may live with the regret of “things unsaid” and for those of us who still have an opportunity to say what we feel.
The much appreciated support from The Puffin Foundation LTD., enabled the purchase of materials to create a series of twelve sculptural, stylized reliefs. I researched the experience of death with other creatives in the Midwest in pursuit of pushing myself further as an artist, thus inspiring fresh visions for this new work which is still being showcased in professional gallery settings. Up until the Covid-19 pandemic the art venues were open to the public and I implemented additional components of insightful artist talks and discussion.