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Mancala on the Concrete

an illustration of a person sitting over a mancala board. the background of the image looks like torn pieces of newspaper layered on top of each other.

“We as black artists have not had the luxury of just being artists,” – David Driskell in The Color Line; Baltimore Magazine.

The bulk of my thesis puts the above statement – packed in this intersection of race, creativity, nuance, and self-/determination – into practice.

Going in three directions – linocut, collage, and a student-focused community panel – to build on my creative practice and tackle what it means to be a Black illustrator in the United States.

With the series of collages, I intended to not answer the question in content but context. That the act of creating need not be hellbent on articulating a political or social stance to represent me and my Blackness. The original intent was spontaneity as a reclamation form. And though the process I use to create collages is intuitive more than anything, the content became intentionally about representing Black joy and nature.

My collages are not only a tribute to the whole idea of Black joy in connection to the land but are a direct memorialization of my home and a reckoning with its temporality – either as a result of time or the violent economic realities of this nation.