This work was commissioned for the Black History Month Round Table's permanent collection and exhibited at Place des Arts for the Égéries Noire/Black Muses Exhibition in Montreal, in February 2016.
Heart Melodies Photo transfer, acrylic, fabric, woodcut, wood burning on found wood 32" x 30" 2016
Heart Melodies is an ode to the tradition of Jazz and Blues. Rooted in African rhythms, this music evolved from spiritual hymns, work songs and "call-and-response" field hollers, journeying with enslaved people to North America. Jazz and Blues represents one of many ways that people of the African Diaspora reinterpret, reinvent, and make beautiful that which already exists despite the hardship and adversity they face.
Heart Melodies honors this reinterpretation, this reinvention through process. Using an arrangement of found wood, each piece has a life history which contributes to the collective power in the new artwork. African symbols and patterns burned into the wood remind us of the historicity of the music.
The photograph, taken of a young girl in Tanzania listening to a vinyl record of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horn and Ella Fitzgerald signifies intergenerational and transnational learning. In the return to the origin of the music, the reinvention continues...