Black and White: It All Comes Down To This
I knew art was the answer. I also knew that my go to mediums of photography and cut paper would not be adequate to express what I had recently come to know in my bones.
So, I thought maybe fabric would work since it leant itself to expressions of color, pattern and proportion.
For five months, I had a sewing machine on order. Yet, it seems like others thought of fabric and sewing during COVID other than just me. Finally, I had to give up my Singer backordered machine for a Brother machine (and I have not been disappointed).
For months, I had been reading and reflecting on racial justice, both what it looks like and how as individuals, communities, and as a nation are we going to live racial equality day in and day out. I was beginning to come to some conclusions and I wanted to get that down in a way that crystalized what I had come to know.
The first conclusion I came to were these three images > < =. These were a visual summary of where we are - the thinking that expresses itself into action that indicate that some our viewers as greater or lesser than others. I have come to realize in a significant way that white supremacy pervades all aspects of society. It relies on entrenched patterns and practices to consistently disadvantage people of color and privilege whites. Opportunities are not equal, because they are opened or not, based on who you are and where you come from. Our nation has an enduring legacy of racism which has caused structural barriers to achievement. Therefore, before there can be racial equality there must be racial equity.
So, how does all this impact my fabric art piece shown above. As you begin looking at the piece, please note I haven't sewed in 50 years and the last time I did I was in junior high with a short attention span, and a reputation of burning up a sewing machine motor in home economics. It went something like this, when the thick fabric of my quilted robe refused to go gently under the presser foot, I pressed down hard on the pedal like I was driving in the Indy 500. When there is fire, there is smoke...
I will let you conclude what you see in the fabric art. What I will say is I divided it into three parts: white supremacy, racial equity, and racial justice. I started with our present reality at the bottom and worked upward where we need to go. Notice as you look at the piece whether white or black is in the foreground or in the background or whether the colors of black and white are of equal proportion. Look at the solid white and black horizontal stripes to determine whether there is more white or black or is it equal. I have divided the piece into 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. Which section would you label white supremacy, racial equity, and racial equality.
This fabric art hangs at the top of the steps where I go in my house to read, think, learn, grow, sit in silence, and pray. It is there to remind me what work has yet to be done and what direction we need to go in.