Installation view of 385 Black Tears at Yellow Peril Gallery during the solo exhibition ...and other poems, Providence, RI, April 25-May 31, 2015.
A volume of James Baldwin’s lesser known verses, “Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems”, initially inspired this ongoing body of work. His writings chronicled the legacy of racial injustice in 20th century America as well as his personal struggles with the homophobia of that era. While responding to his work with my own, I was struck by the parallels between the racial strife that Baldwin wrote about decades ago and the violence inflicted upon black bodies in America today. The widespread protests against these incidents have given voice to our country’s collective sorrow. As I reflected on this communal expression of grief, I began drawing black tears as a way to contemplate my own sadness. It soon became a meditative act, a process that allowed me to grieve and create a visual elegy for the loss.