In this ongoing series of tapestries, I explore my heritage from my 3 “homes”: France where I was born and raised, Africa that I visited and learnt to love, and the USA where I have been living for a number of years. Therefore, I bring cultural traditions and inspirations from these 3 sources and examine my place amongst and between them.
I insert narratives into my art through imagery, symbols and materials. This cross- cultural content is better expressed with a mixed media approach. The mixing of different materials alludes to so-called opposites: global and personal, memory and reality…
I explore the reality of a multi- cultural heritage, of the dichotomy on how we see ourselves and others see us.
I question identity. What is it to be a woman of color in this world, how do you find your place when you have a double culture? Self- identity is always a composite.
I aim to create a symbolic space, one of tolerance and understanding.
The circle is a constant in my work as it is one of the most universal of all symbols: it illustrates microcosmic and macrocosmic unity.
Incorporating textiles adds a physical texture and tension. Fabrics are a vehicle communicating cultural beliefs, history through color, motifs, especially African wax prints as they promote women’s messages … Beads, embroidery are considered feminine, so they are a way of expressing that aspect of my identity. Embroidery is also a special type of writing: the needle replaces the brush.
Because of the faces being pixelated one can read and interact with the work in different ways depending on where one is standing in the room.
“Nobody is who you think they are at first glance. We need to see beyond the projections we cast onto each other. Each of us is so much grander, more nuanced and more extraordinary than anybody thinks, including ourselves.”
Clemantine Wamariya “The Girl who Smiled Beads”