The African American community is as complex as any other. It has no single voice, no single way of seeing the world, and no single way of producing art, music, literature or theater. My paintings explore and celebrate the beauty, elegance and grace of the black middle class through my personal experience.
Commissioned for an exhibition at Adelson Galleries Boston, New Works is inspired by my childhood spent between two cultures: the Gold Coast, West Africa (now Ghana) and the East Coast of the United States. In New Works I revisit the themes of race and culture that I explored in “Black Tie” (1981), part of a series that comments on the personal conflict I felt as African-Americans settled into middle-class life following the racial tensions of the 1960s and 1970s. Although much has changed in 35 years— including the election of the nation’s first African American President— questions of identity and inclusion remain.
New Works includes eight oil paintings of African Americans at formal social events. The figures in my latest series are more engaging and the colors more intense than in my previous work.