DRINK FROM THE RIVER
TAKE YOU WITH ME
TO GIVE AND TO TAKE
TO LIVE AND TO FAKE (MEMENTO MORI)
FAILURE, SWEET, SWEET, FAILURE
During more than two years of work at the National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, I became acquainted with a body of work known as bocio. Bocio, which are primarily figurative, are the signature art form of the Vodun religion that is practiced in Benin. Vodun is the antecedent of the Voodoo religion brought from Africa, via the Caribbean, to New Orleans, where my current body of artwork, heavily influenced by bocio, was made.
As distant relatives, the makers of bocio divined the composition of their assemblages from an inherited, culture- and community-based lexicon, while I divine the composition of my sculptures from a personal narrative and more broadly understood symbols and icons. Where bocio confront chaos and negative external forces with an unnerving aesthetic potency, my visual language is that of a white, Western, academically trained fine artist working in the present day. Moreover, what I confront is my own past, the symptoms of loss, and a chaos that is mostly internal. Yet, in both bodies of work, material is metaphor, objects are personalized, feelings trespass upon the intellect, and visual presence is the arrow tip that drives the pursuit of catharsis - a confrontation, embrace, and ultimate defeat of the negative.