My work deals with black women and one very important theme that black women artists have used repeatedly is hair. I created a performance where the audience is asked to arrange some photos under the categories “Real” or “Fake”. If they think the picture in the photograph shows women with real hair the picture goes under “Real” and the same for fake hair. The persons that guess correctly gets a change to guess whether my hair is real, then regardless of whether right or wrong, they can come closer to me and touch and feel for themselves. I printed out over 50 pictures from the internet and laminated them, then created a large board to hang the pictures. I also plan to create a website version of the game. The wonderful thing that I learned is, the beautiful thing about being a black woman is that sometimes we can never really tell…
The Money Tree Revival Project is a unique blend of Chinese and African American traditions. While modeling an African American Revival church service, the performers sweep the audience up into the revival ritual. They chant and repeat over and over that they can turn hair into money! As the performers make this impossible claim, participants are encouraged to give strands of hair, as much as they can muster to be collected into a basket. After collection, the hair is woven into coins using a Chinese knotting method, and used to adorn a small money tree. A trial run was performed last year around the winter solstice. Future development of the idea includes a performance in the Bazaar art space in Shanghai. An animation was created to be played while the performance is taking place.
The images below are a preview of the animation 🙂
From my diary November 29th, 2012 … “So even though I have felt that it is important to make painting in order to make art objects of value — maybe in fact all the other performance work is really just so I can process and create these paintings with clarity … OR … Maybe the challenge is to create performances that can be like painting…”
The aim is to use our bodies as well as the objects to think of interesting shapes and forms within a limited time frame. I created several light weight cuboid sculptures which were easy to carry and fit to together. I then asked two persons to use the posts to create a sculpture in 15 seconds in a stage. The audience counted to fifteen then we paused for 5 seconds to take a picture. The same couple had another 15 seconds to make another sculpture immediately afterwards. They were about 10 sculptures in all, with 10 pictures documenting their creations. This rather elemental experiment is an attempt to break-down and study the elements of sculpture in relationship to our bodies. Costume has been one of my main topics of focus so understanding form and body is a basic requirement. The first pictures were taken during a recent art group performance, the Period Art Group, at West Lake Hangzhou.
The second set of pictures when taken on campus at Shuren University, near my home.
I joined a group of committed artist who have determined to produce performance art works at least once every month. Since the group was formed I have performed with them three times. Below are a list of my projects and some pictures.
My Foot is bigger than Yours
The Other Half
This group is really unique in China. I love working and hanging with them. Here are some pictures of some of the other work created during our last performance at West Lake, Hangzhou on November 24th.
Third time’s a charm they say, and I wholeheartedly agree. Although I’ve been married 3 times I still have the same husband. Our first wedding was in Ethiopia during the new millennium celebration in September 2007, the beginning of the year 2000 according to the ancient Ethiopian calendar. We were married again that same year in New York, the most legal, even if less festive celebration. Our marriage is a happy and fruitful one. So why get married again?
My third marriage was not to Lester. I committed my life in a formal way to the activity that has been the driving force of my life for as long as I can remember. Creating Art. In the performance piece “The Other Half” I wore a wedding dress to show my commitment to the solemn thank-less duty of producing artwork.
The dress I wore is store bought off the rack in China, but very special. During the performance while wearing the dress, I asked the audience to go underneath my shirt to see what makes this ordinary dress really unique. Underneath is a collection of objects and materials arranged to tell a story of my recent journey as an artist. The audience is invited to spend time and explore all the nooks and crannies, take what they can remove , and photograph themselves with me from my most intimate side.
I guess the reason I was thinking about wedding dresses is because Lester and I have started an online store selling dresses for brides, bridesmaids, flower girls and mothers, all made to their size. Check it out. Tell your friends and their friends. You could even become an agent and make some money. Click on the link to visit the site: www.weddingdressforyou.com.
The image that best represent Louise Bourgeois’ spunk and sense of humor is this one, taken by Robert Maplethorpe in 1982 when she was 71 years old. She was born in Paris in 1911 and was 98 when she died in New York City in 2010.
She is also known for her work made from collecting objects, and for soft sculptures and totemic forms. She was a pioneer for women, and encouraged young artists to her home in Chelsea for art talks. Also one of the first artists to use interior spaces she called “Cells”. Her work is emotionally charged and provocative.
For an in dept look into her life and work, visit https://www.artsy.net/artist/