E'tude series



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 grii is a talisman, that is stuffed with spiritual text. I wanted mine to have not only texts, but stones and plants that offer protection and inspiration.

Upon pondering the future of my people (African Americans), I had ascertained that creating such a thing would be a timely project. To warm up I began a series that I called the Etude Series. An etude 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 people murdered.

Creating the Etude series was providing me with a sense of joy, even hope…I decided they would be the elements for a installation. These pieces are to offer protection during the first wave of the third millennium. I made the commitment to create 100 of them by the end of 2020. I started to match the gri gris, with the names of Jazz musicians and titles of tunes they played that 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 the healing a people. Each piece is filled with medicine: crystals, stones, dried plants and objects that offer protection and healing. They also have inspirational texts embedded in the backs of them. I wanted to install them in a white room positioned to give the perception that they were trying to escape the room and its whiteness.

Due to COVID-19, they could not be exhibited, however I did manage to install and document them in a wonderful space. They can be viewed in the project section of my website. The individual gri gris can be seen on-line in my Facebook and Instagram sites. The art works are small, no larger than 16" x 16". There are over 100 pieces in this series, and it is now my goal to have them in the homes working to inspire and protect. I am creating a self-published book of this series.