MY focus within art is to depict Black and Brown folks first, to give them the representation and attention that I wish I saw when I was growing up. I love working with figures especially big and fat figures. I try to keep my work as socially aware as a project will allow.
I originally did the Rise Up, Hands Up piece for a junior studio assignment. We had to redesign a poster that we saw and like. Immediately I looked for protest posters, specifically ones regarding #BlackLivesMatter. I wanted to originally do the piece in wood cut, but limited time and funds pushed me to be more creative. I found that brush and ink worked just as well and once you changed the levels it looks very similar if not exactly like wood cut. I went through a couple of mock ups, trying to figure out the placement of the hands and how they interact or overlap. It came out so well so i decided to try and use it to raise money for Hands Up United and make stickers out of them.
One of the first places I stuck them was in LUCADs shiny new elevator door. I wanted to make people remember that Black and Brown people are struggling to live. I feel like that's a thing that people at Lesley fail to remember particularly since a large amount of students come from predominantly white towns. But also because I was/am extremely annoyed and disappointed with how Lesley handles conversations around race inside and outside the classroom. The acknowledgement of Black pain and struggle, of students who have been emotionally and psychologically affected by recent and past events isn't even a concern.
My message with RiseUp HandsUp is simple. fight back. stand up for your fellow human, push back and break down oppressive system. don't forget the power of the people.
Home is… the Bronx, Cambrige and nowhere all at same time
What are you currently doing? Trying to cope with being a Black student attending a white institution where microaggressions, Racism and apathy are bountiful, making coffee drinks and figuring out how to marry my love of social justice and art
What are you passionate about?...I wouldn’t call it passionate…I don’t think most people are passionate about breathing but I suppose that’s what social justice is like to me. I feel it’s my duty as a Black queer person who is privileged enough to be attending an institution of higher learning to educate myself and others.
What do you try to convey in your work?...I try to convey a world where people of color are visible and their voices are heard throughout media instead of forgotten or tossed in the back ground. I want to convey radical change and education. I want to normalize Black and Brown faces, features and perspectives.
How do you wish to use your work for social change?... I want to make people think and look at things differently, from someone else’s perspective. Education is the first step to revelution.
Who has influenced you to be the activist you are today?... I have been influenced by the works of Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, bell hooks, Cornell West, a lot of Black and Brown critical thinkers. I have to honestly say though that my mom was the first. I learned to speak up and speak out through her actions. She encouraged reading and letting me figure things out for myself. I am very grateful for her.