FRENCH DOORS 2013-2014




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.