“I tell stories through my art, carrying messages from the ancestors.”
In African art, snail and octopus shapes are stylized in order to convey a sense of slow motion, persistence, and determination.
My young West African girl lives in a village of houses on stilts barely above the moving, muddy waters. Her only mode of transportation is a modest canoe and a magic oar to take her places. Oar Up or Down is perhaps one of the most multifarious works of my career. As I started the quilt, not unlike the current state of the world, it felt capricious and erratic. It was then re-worked, re-envisioned, distorted and finally metamorphosed somewhere between an enormous spell-casting tarot card and a large amulet for protection.
Either way, though the protagonist has “lost” her canoe, she sits majestically resembling an African queen with a cosmic collar. Her body has anthropomorphized into an octopus-like body, her face reflected on one of the tentacles. She chooses to move more slowly, steadily, with purpose and direction. She is persistent and shows great determination. She dreams and I dream with her.
Original design on 100% silk digitally printed, original design silk-screened on 100% cotton. Original design on 100% silk, digitally printed, original de-sign silk-screened on 100% cotton, shibori, wax block printed fabric, iridescent organza, domestic batik, Indian silks, costume pearls, seed beads, mother of pearl buttons, sequins, silver beads, cotton thread French knots, hand embroidery, silver and gold hand stitching with metallic thread, hand quilted.
Credits: Photograph by Anton Ivanov/Shutterstock.com, Original designed fabric by Leslie A. Golomb digitally printed by Papilio Prints using a Kornit Digital Allegro printer, Original design by Leslie A. Golomb silkscreened by PULL-PROOF master printer Matthew Van Asselt.
Denkyem, meaning a dwarf crocodile is an Adinkra symbol and proverb of adaptability, ingenuity, cleverness and mystery. (https://symbolsage.com/denkyem-adinkra-symbol/)
The child in each of us
Paradise is home.
Home as it was
Or home as it should have been.
Paradise is one’s own place,
One’s own people,
One’s own world,
Knowing and known,
Loving and loved.
Yet every child
Is cast from paradise-
Into growth and new community,
Into vast, ongoing
by Octavia E. Butler
Parable of the Sower
Continuing my Oar Up or Down series I look further at my girl who lives above the waters of West Africa on houses with stilts. She uses a wooden canoe and her magic oar to go places, her only mode of transportation. I have a clearer view of her through the muddy waters. Though she is small, she is focused, she is resourceful, and she is clever. As she twists and turns, each stitch helps guide her on a pathway away from those who want to do her harm.
Digital silk-screened image on 100% silk, Original design silkscreened on 100% cotton, photo transfer onto organza, shibori, wax block printed fabric, parachute fabric, rayon, domestic 100% cotton, iridescent sequins, seed beads, cotton thread french knots, hand embroidery, iridescent thread, silver and gold metallic thread, hand stitched and quilted.
Credits: Photograph by Anton Ivanov/Shutterstock.com, Original Design by Leslie A. Golomb, silkscreened by PULLPROOF master printer Matthew Van Asselt
This piece was created during the pandemic.
It depicts how it is time for TRUTH to become the true fiber of our lives. We must lean back on the ancestors, gather our collective wisdom and our personal internal DNA and pour it into a vessel, to store it and make it accessible to others. Do the work. Search it out. It is time for TRUTH to be our guide.
Imported batik fabrics from West Africa, domestic 100% cotton, shibori, cowrie shells, sequins, french knots with cotton floss, hand embroidery, cotton and metallic threads, machine quilted.
Camouflage fabric rests over cultural symbols: a metaphor to transport the viewer back to generations of indigenous and emigrant populations. The clean sleekness of modern structures conceal the sacred monuments and pave over the indigenous and emigrant cultures and their contributions. As the shiny “new” comes forth, a channel of reverence should flow through the old foundation and reveal the spirit that shines from within. Seek the past and embrace the future with respect, pride, and dignity for those that came before.
The elements of this piece represent the different cultures that formed the landscape: hand-pieced oak leaves (Canadian), printed burlap with fleur de lis (French), Irish chain in shibori (Irish), border trim (Greek), woven print (Native American), burlap spiral (multi-national emigrant miners), printed figures (African), cross medallion (Christian).
100% cotton, printed organza, upholstery landscape fabric, wax batik landscape fabric, cotton and metallic threads, hand and machine stitched.
“In collaboration with the Greater Pittsburgh Art Council, Pittsburgh International Airport, VisitPITTSBURGH brought together a collective of exclusive artworks by 12 Pittsburgh-based artists on London’s vibrant Southbank June 3-9, 2019. Pittsburgh Art on the Bank is a multi-disciplinary showcase by well-known and emerging artists, offering an immersive presentation of the city’s diverse talent and artistry.”