Artist statement
Claudia “Aziza” Gibson-Hunter
May 2022

This page combines two different bodies of work: TAKING FLIGHT and FLIGHT SCHOOL 2022 has been a year of thinking, reading, discussing the idea of the collective spirit and tit’s relationship to flight. This work is inspired by the folktales of enslaved people taking flight from bondage, murmuration, and the belief that the spirit force cannot be destroyed. In murmuration, starlings have no leader, THEY KNOW how to position themselves in the graceful communal patterns. I see these pieces as a call to hope, ancestral memory, and creativity in these most challenging times.

For these “flight” pieces, gathering was a starting point. Gathering is the identification and collection of materials (in this case papers), and objects that can be arranged in a way that can express ideas of movement, agency, and time. When combining painting, printmaking, papermaking, and collage I make use of improvisation. The fast-paced decisions of which color, texture, form, pattern, placement rely on improvisation. Pieces are then left be refined or reconsidered after a day or two. Jazz is a process here, and I am quick to indicate that improvisation is primed by practice and skill.

The TAKING FLIGHT series and the FLIGHT SCHOOL are in relief. Sheets of handmade paper were painted with mediums that create various finishes. When the paper is made by hand it was allowed to dry uneven and curling to create flowing forms. Commercial sheets of paper were printed with layers of paint, and block printing. Entire paintings, and pulp paintings, were created then sliced, repositioned, edited, and interwoven with the stiff and curled handmade paper. This work references the patchwork quilting of Africans in the Diaspora, the fractured, bold forms, and colors of Africobra through the juxtaposition of colors, patterns, textures, rhythms, and forms.

My love of the deckled edges of paper, can be seen in the compositions. The forms jutting at obtuse angles, paint and paper reaching, pushing, extending beyond perimeters are my call for agency, Uhuru, ...something else. The exploration of Blackstraction continues to push my work into the realm of three dimensionality.

I am a mixed media artist that understands collage to be a ritual reflecting characteristics of the 21st century. The use of sampling in music making, the sharing of Internet information, the ferocious cross -cutting techniques used in contemporary film media, dances that change tempos in a flash …. I know these things as extensions of collage. While living at the convergence of climate change, global pandemic, unfettered racism, and economic upheaval, I find myself in times of confusion, courage, ignorance, remarkable feats humanity and dispirited unconstrained greed, I am sharing a lift for the spirit. This work is a call to gather and a call for movement to, by, of something beyond today’s rhetoric.