"In my current art work, I wanted to not only address and undermine stereotypes which have hounded me my whole life, but I also felt the need to express concerns about women’s attachments to escapist romantic fantasy. Up until age 17, I had lived in the “bad part of town” alongside hoodlums, drug dealers, and promiscuous young girls. At my predominantly African-American high school, one in every three girls were pregnant or often engaging in sexual activity by graduation. The few students I had any relationship with at all had referred to virginity as a vile disease that needed to be given away to the first availably interested man. It’s also strange that these same students viewed Africa in as a region that is the source of the world’s ugliness and ignorance. Immediately, I knew that I had to break away from these negative associations to find my own identity. Other African-American artists convinced me that Africa was a place to treasure. By making art about the fantasy of actually visiting the continent, I felt like I was only one step closer. Tritobia Hayes Benjamin quoted artist Lois Mailou Jones’ as saying this:
I was privileged to see our ancestral arts in their original settings as well as in museums and galleries and to visit the studios of leading contemporary African
artists. The trip also gave me a clearer picture of how African art has influenced the Afro-American artist. My work reflects the powerful influence of this association. By combining the motifs from various regions of Africa, I try to explore on canvas a sense of underlying unity of all of Africa (98)."

This is supposedly the best part of my thesis paper. And sadly, that's the opening.


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