Blueprints | 2022
List Art Center, Providence, RI
“...We can think of every culture as a coin that has two contradictory faces or subsystems… the culture of survival and the culture of liberation… each is important in defining the complexity of culture” (Nieto, 59).
Blueprints is about Black culture and traditions and how these sacred practices inform Black futures and imaginations. The title Blueprints alludes to Black peoples’ influence on global culture and, specifically, their role in building this country. It additionally suggests that some of the actions shown through the work—twisting hair, Black men playing cards, and other instances of Black joy—are just as integral to emancipation as social movements and policy changes. In a way, these generational acts are blueprints for Black peoples’ intimate experiences of their own culture.
This concept of a blueprint runs parallel to painting and its importance to art history. Painting has a loving tediousness to it; a specific patience and care. However, it is also bogged down by historical highs and lows, purposeful erasures, and politicized jargon. Painting feels like the most accurate way to capture culture in a way that is reminiscent of how it is built; culture is complex. It is not simply the things we do as a people or the way we speak and dress. Culture is also the shared experience of conflict and perseverance. A culture of survival hangs over Black people’s heads, while a culture of liberation lifts them onto their feet.
Through paint, I hope to lift as many footsteps as possible.