I began this project in 2019 as a proposal for a
solo exhibition that was to take place at the Hillyer gallery
in Washington DC. My proposal was chosen for a solo exhibition
at the Hillyer gallery in October of 2020. The tentative title
for the show was Gri Gri s: for the First Wave of the Third Millennium.
A Gri Gri is a talisman, that is stuffed with spiritual text.
I wanted mine to have not only texts, but stones and plants that
Upon pondering the future of my people (African
Americans) , I had ascertained that creating such a thing would
be a good project. To warm up I began a series that I called the
E'tude Series. An E'tude is defined as "a short musical composition,
typically for one instrument, designed as an exercise to improve
the technique or demonstrate the skill of the player .(Oxford
Languages) The idea is that I was practicing the creation of my
unique collage/paintings to improve my techniques and reveal my
skills struck a chord.
Then COVID-19 hit, and the show cancelled. Then
Mr. Floyd was murdered. I sat in my dark studio for weeks in the
quiet trying to grapple with the magnitude of the disease, its
consequences, and the numb feeling of having yet another of my
Creating the E'tude series was providing me with
a sense of joy, even hope…they would be the basis of my Gri Gris.
I made the commitment to create 100 of them by the end of 2020.
As I started to choose titles for the works, the names of Jazz
musicians and titles of tunes they played seemed to fit the pieces.
Jazz is indeed music of great imagination, tenacity, and the free
improvisation, a part of its very form, makes it, in my estimation
a music fit for the uncertainness of these times. It is also a
music that has, through the years, exposed issues of injustice.
It has been a salve for healing a people. The art works are small,
no larger than 16" x 16". There are over 100 pieces in this series.
I am looking forward to creating an installation with the pieces