I’m excited to tell you that I’ve started work on a new series of artworks titled – Hidden Gems. Here’s the backstory. I started brainstorming this series a year ago. You all know how long I take to think about, research, and work on the initial sketching and digital painting stages before I even get them printed onto fabrics. So this has been in the works for well over a year.
Hidden Gems Series – The Initial Idea
When I started, all I knew was that I wanted to tell a story about the strength in human diversity. I wanted to celebrate the beauty in diversity but I wasn’t sure how I was going to express that thought. Often times, when you look at the stories in the media, and listen to the news, you don’t walk away with a positive feeling about the state of humanity. When you even watch the way we behave towards each other, you’re left feeling like there’s nothing the different races have in common. So, my thought was to express these ideas in art. My challenge was to figure out how to get it done.
I once saw a quote that read:
I loved the quote immediately I read it. Because this is one of the most powerful things about art. A thought, an idea, concepts, feelings or emotions – intangible things – can be communicated in tangible ways through art. When you think about it, it’s truly amazing how you can do that – transform a thought to thing.
So, that’s what I set out to do.
Hidden Gems Series: Executing the Idea
When I thought about representing these ideas in portraits, the initial thought that came to me was colors. Typically, the different races are identified by colors specifically, skin color. As I kept thinking and looking for ways to represent these ideas, I eventually landed on the idea of the colors of gemstones. Gemstones seemed the perfect metaphor for executing my ideas in art. Following is the statement I crafted for this series. I feel like this Hidden Gems series will be a sort of resting place for me. Hopefully, it’ll be ongoing for a long period of time. Every now and then, I’ll keep coming back to add a new piece to it over and over again.
Hidden Gems Series: Statement
In this ongoing series, I explore the different shades, facets, and color ranges of precious gems as metaphor for humans of different races. Different; but each one equally precious.
The portraits are created with a wide range of ink colors painted digitally, printed onto fabric and then stitched with colorful threads including using variegated threads for the first time in my portraits. I chose to use variegated threads for the symbolism I find inherent in them. These threads are closely wound together either tone on tone or in contrasting colors.
for each piece I created in this series, the colors are vibrant and sometimes muted in certain areas. What the color studies in each piece reveal is that no one color is absolute and that colors tend to merge into one another. This symbolizes the commonalities between humans. While at a distance, it’s easy to recognize each piece as its own specific and different color, as you draw closer you start to see the commonalities and the things that bind us together.
In the Hidden Gems series, I used the Adinkra symbol for Siamese crocodiles in the background of each piece. The story behind these mythical Siamese crocs references unity and highlights the absurdity of fighting each other when they’re joined together in the belly.
In this series, I want the viewer to appreciate that different is beautiful. It doesn’t mean superior nor inferior. Beauty can be found in all colors and shades. Precious gems come in different colors and shades yet we cherish them all as being precious.
Hidden Gems Series: Ongoing
Going forward, I’ll be introducing each member of the series, separately. So far, I’ve created four. Each of them will have a separate article. As I add new pieces to the series, I’ll revisit this post and add links to the new artworks. If you’re interested in owning any of the artworks, please contact me.
That’s it for now.
Works in The Gem Series:
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Also published on Medium.