First let me apologize for not sending out this blog on Friday. I had been working till about 4am for the past three nights with the help of large mugs of Starbucks whole-bean-dark-roast coffee. By time Friday morning arrived, my body could not keep up with the nightly four hour sleep regimens, 5 minute power naps, and tutoring my children...I completely crashed. I didn't even wake up until noon on Friday. My daughter was sweet enough to let me sleep and fix cereal for herself and her brother...AND fed the dog! Thank Jesus for that ;)
I swear, I must have a slow reaction to things because I had absolutely no idea how much energy the painting had taken from me. Days flew by, hair unbrushed and wearing the same outfit for days in a row...the painting owned me.
The demanding energy it exuded had me working around the clock like an indentured slave. I kept adding more and more when my initial thought was quite bland and simple at first. However, as tired as I was I didn't cut corners. Every detail had the same amount of love.
Once the painting was done, my servitude was complete, my body finally allowed itself to shut down in order to restore anew. Today I feel like a brand new person! YAY! I can settle in and blog write for you guys with a rested mind, body and soul.
Although I identify as a womanist, I do advocate for and paint the black male body because I represent all people from the African diaspora. With The Crucifixion, I wanted to address racial prejudice, and disparities. You will see a bullet wound on his stomach highlighting gun related violence, the leading cause of death among our black men.
By sticking with some of Caravaggio's soldiers (who were not in historically accurate armor for B.C. era) we add a late 16th century narrative...the Atlantic slave trade. I made our Jesus's clothes crimson to pay homage to all of the ancestors who died by the hands of unjust behavior. The ones who willingly or unwillingly paved the way for us to have or freedom and the continued fight for equality.
I made Yemaya as our Mary because she not only INCLUDES our identity but is the mother to us all. She is in every mother willing to fight for their children. Yemaya forever holds the pain and fills the hole to which we all have felt at one given time.
Throughout the painting I placed Adinkra symbols I believe to help represent these figures. Can you find them?
In the end, we can argue all day about Jesus's color and ethnicity but in reality you're fighting a small battle when there is a large war. A white Jesus appeals and relates to a white audience and their lifestyle. Would a person of color accept a white Jesus? One who's sermons where preached at churches while our ancestors were being auctioned off in the courtyard outside? We must protect and include our identity no matter what belief you have.
Strip away everything and you have a story about God's child who died for our sins. Did our ancestors not die for us? Of course they did, so it's only fitting that this Jesus represents our black liberation theology.