Since I was a little girl I along with my twin sister Sharon were captivated by two Olympic Sports- Gymnastics and Figure Skating. Sharon had a wonderful dream of being one of the first African American women to be a star gymnast and I an African American figure skater.
Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s we did not have skaters or gymnasts who looked like us in the mainstream sports arena. So we did not have sheroes to look up to.
Well time moved on and now things have definitely changed. Enter Gabby Douglas!
As a member of the U.S. Women's Gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won gold medals in both the individual and team all-around competitions. Douglas is the first African-American gymnast and first woman of color in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion, and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics. She was also a member of the gold-winning U.S. team at the 2011 World Championships.
Sankofa Studio salutes her great accomplishments today!
I am so excited to have been juried into the exhibition "Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition" starting August 28- October 28th at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Historic Charleston, South Carolina.
Inspired by the folklore and visual history of the black mermaid archetype,” Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition” will be the largest showcase of Mermaid art quilts and art dolls ever assembled. “There could not be a more perfect site for “ Mermaids”, than City Gallery at Waterfront Park, as it over looks Charleston Harbor.” Curator Cookie Washington said enthusiastically.
Enslaved Africans, carried across the Atlantic in the slave trade, brought with them their beliefs and practices honoring their ancestral water deities. “Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibit” celebrates the visual cultures and histories of water goddesses.
Today, communities of color have reestablished, revisualized, and revitalized African mermaids in their art. The quilting and doll-making traditions have also undergone a renaissance from utilitarianism to fine crafts. ‘Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore’ is a journey of color and inspiration, a visual feast of imaginative expression. The fine craftsmanship in Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore is griot in nature,” says Curator Cookie Washington. She has brought together both critically acclaimed and emerging fiber artists. “Each piece is a storyteller, using color, texture, form and embellishment to express a narrative.”
African-American quilting as a craft-form is hardly recent. Long before the advent of slavery on this continent, civilizations of Africa were weaving the backdrop for African-American quilting as they preserved their aesthetic principles, religious and cultural traditions.
Women continued the quilting tradition in the American South. Symbolism and meaning continued as a thread through quilts crafted during slavery. Quilts were made and used in a utilitarian fashion, hand stitching scraps together to keep families warm. In some cases, quilts made by elders were the only legacy a family had, preserving memories and events.
In a rare collaboration, the exhibit catalogue pairs profound poetry and fantastic photography that will be a lasting reminder of the relationship between fine craft and soaring poetic verse that speaks of the black mermaid. Dive in to this rich, juicy, Mermaid poetry. This vivid affecting, powerful collection accompanies the artwork sensationally. Taken together, you’ll be baptized into the undersea world of the Merpeople.
Opening Reception Sept 8th, 2012 5pm to 8pm
I am pleased to show you my latest doll project called Maji, the African Mermaid.
This doll was created based upon an imaginary mythic African mermaid called
Maji which means ocean or water in Swahili. She has been all around the world
including Latin America, Asia and Europe. She brings with her peace and hope
for future generations. Her beauty is captivated by the colors of magenta, yellow,
and white. She swims to remind us that love is where you find it. Beauty is in
the eye of the beholder. Though she is not as well known as other African sea
goddesses, she is making her debut and finding her proud place among the sea.
Maji reminds women of African descent the false belief system that requires
them to find identity and meaning in their lives through their husbands and
children. Such a system causes women to completely lose their identity in that
of their family. I believe in many cases women today still fall victim by society
to have a husband and children in order to be considered completely
Maji represents the total feminine, the emotions and feelings of women today
in relation to the various roles they playas business owner, wife, mother,
daughter, sister, etc. It's not easy to be all and still be yourself.
Recently, I attended a tour sponsored by the Anacostia Museum in Washington, DC of East of the River Sculptures and Murals. It was a wonderful experience! It was a great seeing great artwork in this part of the city. In Ward 7 and Ward 8 of Washington, DC is an area where there is a lot of negative press. I learned so much about public art in this part of the city.
Hello all! I am in a new exhibition called #myDeanwood Honoring The Past to Create A Future curated by Kimberly Gaines of DeanwoodxDesign
Deanwood is not Maryland, Deanwood is very much in the District of Columbia. A historically African American community in Northeast Washington, DC with a rich history, valued neighbors and beautiful green spaces. But it is so much more. The “more” however is overshadowed by the negative realities of unemployment and crime.
The intent of this exhibition is to give honor and praise to history for we know it shapes our future. Highlighting a community with all of its facets not just its negative dimensions. The work displayed looks at process, connections, emotions, perspective and the sweetness of persistance. There is amazing talent woven through these works. It shows that tradition is present even when flipped into new meaning. The future is bright because our foundation is strong.
#myDeanwood is wealthy when it comes to tradition and history. The next challenge is giving a new generation wings steeped in tradition and infused with their truth.
Kimberly C. Gaines
The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. The curator and the DxD team use the #myDeanwood hashtag to note positive happenings within Deanwood in social media to counter some of the negative media this neighborhood receives.
Come meet the artists on Friday, July 27th at 6:00 pm and see their work
Amber Robles Gordon,
Sherry Burton Ways,
Benita Elliot and
Center for Green Urbanism – Tubman-Mahan Gallery
3938 Benning Road NE Washington DC 20019
Music and Light fare and a whole lot of art!!
It has been about a year since I last posted. Why? There have been so many changes and events that have taken place since I last spoke to you. Last year I lost my father various breakups in relationships, transformation, travel, and self discovery. Finding the truth about others, their addictions, their dark sides. Processing discoverings, truths and trying the find the silver lining of it all. This process has led me to become disenchanted with my doll work and lost my sense of creativity. I had an artist block.
You see what I do is a manifestation of my relationship with the Creator. My hands have power. To make, to love to heal and to create works of art. It is not by accident. When you disengage from the Creator then you disengage from life. You see it is not about other people and their stuff. It is about you, how you view yourself and thus how that interacts with others.
Has this ever happen to you? I am now reemerging my senses and my art is calling me in a spiritual way to get back to work. I am beginning to work on a new series soon that will chronicle my journey within the last year to self-discovery, healing and loving myself for who I am and not simply what others would like for me to be or how they want to manipulate me for selfish gains, profit and otherwise. Being real with yourself and with others is the most precious gift you can ever give yourself.
I have been truly amazed however, of the number of people who continue to follow this blog and on the Sankofa Studio Facebook Page. Truly phenomenal, given I have not been very active in the last year.
This is the testiment to the power of the Sankofa Dolls and what they mean to people. I love you all for being patient with my journey and being there in your own silent way. Supporting me and I love you for that.
People come and go in our lives for a reason. Some subtle and some not so subtle. We are taught by those who come into our lives to learn one of two things: how to be and how not to be. Negative situations happen to reinforce our healing and growth. We can choose to stay in a place where negativity lies and be reinforced by it or we can simply choose a better way.
Whatever we want in life is based on our belief and connection to the source. Whatever that is for you. I am beginning to learn to breathe through my experiences and expand on who it is that I know I am and what I am striving to be.
Now it is time to journey back to the spiritual place where my dolls evolve and where and when they are born. I look forward to having you there, supporting, cheering and loving me and Sankofa Doll Artistry.
Well, well, well... it is that time again. Passageways Artists Studios which Sankofa Doll Artistry is a member will be holding their Open Studio on Sunday, June 26th from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm in Riverdale Park, Maryland.
This is the first summer open studio we have had in quite some time. I invite you to come out and see my latest doll art, pins, and other mixed media work. Remember doll art makes great gifts for birthdays and other special occasions. In addition, I will be on hand to discuss that special commission you would like for yourself or a loved one.
Directions to the event is listed above. I hope you will consider joining me for doll art, refreshments and chit chat!
I am an emerging self taught doll artist who is learning how to improve my craft. I started doll making 3 years ago and stopped due to entrepreneurial pursuits. Now with the help of my mentor Francine Haskins, I am beginning the craft again with much more vigor and interest. Please share this journey with me.