My practice as a Visual Griot (pronounced gri.ou) is inspired by the traditional and visual aesthetics of Africa’s oral traditions, making visible voices and stories from the African Diasporic Experience. The exile experience.
I use traditional African art and crafts to express the contemporary urban African experiences, both local and globally throughout the Diaspora. By employing myths, rituals, memories, symbolisms, culturally specific materials, and text, I negotiate the boundaries between the traditional and the contemporary, the sacred and the secular
, art and craft. My work honours the creative journeys of the Ancestors, and strives to maintain the chain of transmission which then enables me to convey and reinforce my own multiple heritages, as well as my spiritual journey.
Whatever material I choose – whether glass, textile, dye sand, clay, or wood – the output explores cultural identity not simply as a product of tradition, but as a partly open, partly clandestine negotiation of ‘in-betweenness’ and the Other. Like the Griots who tell stories that perpetuate the oral tradition of the community, I am both a witness to the past, and interpreter of the present.
The opportunity to have facilitated Creative Workshops in diverse environments for professional and non-professional artists and craftspeople has led me to the profound understanding that a successful Education “draws forth” that which is latent—implementing this at the core of my workshops thus challenges participants to take charge of their own creativity.