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This series represents a new direction for the artist, exploring the possibilities of addressing current events using abstract symbolism with new media. In spite of the moniker, the series is not meant to be viewed primarily as a treatise of African art or the African experience. Such exercises are best left to talented African artists, some doing incredible things like Laolu Senbanjo. What these works seek to explore instead is how having this other continentâ€™s name attached to oneâ€™s identity (literally, being called African-American) can affect oneâ€™s outlook in a unique way. In an age when the term is used to both embolden and to demean; to fetishize and to exclude; it is crucial to examine objectively how the interpretations of this vast region play a part in the worldâ€™s perception of its diaspora. Creatively, there is a strong influence by the work of Norman Lewis, a master of abstract expressionism that didnâ€™t get the strong recognition he deserved because there was an â€œAfricanâ€ in front of his â€œAmericanâ€â€¦ even though they didnâ€™t yet use the term during his lifetime; and his work portrayed universal colors, lines, and shapes that didnâ€™t require it to be viewed particularly within a racial context. There is also the influence of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who also incorporated voodoo-like iconography that harkens back to African origins. There is an ongoing public discourse by Americans of Black descent, seeking to identify themselves beyond the confines of their historical placement in Western society. This work hopes to take part in this search.
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