It was a thrill to be in Paris. It is the place where
James Baldwin, Beauford Delaney, Aaron Douglas, Louis Jones and
so may of the Black writers, and musicians retreated from the constant
onslaught of American white supremacy. During my stay I could not
understate the impression the doors of the various buildings made
on me. They were huge, beautifully painted, opulent, stunning, exquisite,
and delightful. I ran from building to building taking photographs
of the ornate carvings, wrought iron and lovey colors. In all of
their attractiveness, the cost of these beautiful doors invoked
questions, for they represented the wealth of a country that colonized
a huge number of countries in Africa.
My visit to Little Africa, a section of Paris filled
with immigrants helped to form a clearer lens. I met immigrants
from Senegal, Cameroon, Congo, Mali, and other African countries
formerly colonized by France. The irony of people leaving their
homelands in pursuit of a lifestyle fueled by the raw materials,
goods and cheap labor, pilfered form their own homelands reverberated.
Beneath the warm feel of the African marketplace lived
an uneasiness. No pictures
one might be identified as an illegal.
A tension was there, something recognizable. The question of colonial
taxes demanded from former African colonies is
another issue that those doors exacerbated. I see these works as
visual reference points for discourse, and many of the titles offer
additional cultural or historical context.
Painting, photography, linoleum printmaking, drawing,
and collage were employed in the creation of these works. Archival
inks, acrylic paint, colored pencil, and, commercial papers were
my media. There are 24 works in this series.