*All images on this page are from one ongoing work called:
NOTES FROM BLACK WALL STREET (I AIN'T SORRY)
Digital Video Loop (2'00" minutes), 2000 copies of report from Tulsa Race Riot Commission for audience to take, 21 paintings over archival photographs, 2 vinyl banners
Digital Video, Monitor, Stereo Sound, Vinyl, Paint, Xerox copies, Lights, Mixed-Media on Archival Photo Paper
Two Conjoined Rooms: 30x12 ft and 8x10 ft
(Exhibited in Former Mailroom in Times Square during Spring Break Art Fair 2018, NYC, NY)
Each Archival Image from Greenwood before, during, and after the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is hand-painted in thick, tactile layers akin to scars. Each image measures 8.5x11 inches. This exhibition featured 21 works, while the ongoing series currently exceeds 50 works on paper and will reach 100 works by the centennial of the massacre. The video includes archival footage from the community of Greenwood, as well as a line from Claude McKay's poem: If We Must Die. Additionally, the mail slots were intended to be activated by the viewer, each containing xerox copies of a 40 page report on the Tulsa Race Massacre. Viewers were permitted to take these single sheets and reconstruct different versions of the event, pursuing many iterations of the same narrative.
Notes from Black Wall Street (2016-ongoing)
Over two years ago, I concluded a ten-year hiatus from my home state: Oklahoma. I moved to downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma where I reside blocks from the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The massacre resulted in the firebombing of one of the most affluent black communities in the US. On my daily commutes, I struggle to make sense of what the former Greenwood (a.k.a. Black Wall Street) community was like in texture, in sound, in color, in taste, in smell, in memory. I search archives for shelved witnesses––parts of the archives are deliberately missing. Fragments do not always make reliable narrators.
With Tulsa's new face, an urban facade catalyzed by gentrification, relics of Tulsa's Black Wall Street are equally complicated, erased, or obliterated by fresh layers––defunct factories turned condos, baseball field on diamond shaped-land, watering holes, art studios, entrepreneurial hubs, pelotons, craft beer festivals, endless marathons, and other calculated things to see, hear, eat, and do. A highway, food desert, and other traces of urban renewal remind me of efforts to further dismantle the rebuilt Greenwood community.
Walk with me.
I am in search of an elevator, a black man, a white woman, escaped goats.
Walk with me.
I am in search of traces of a former community thriving in exile because of segregation.
Walk with me.
I am in search of pennies, melting together by fire.
As we approach the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Red Summer, and other race riots that took place across the United States, I offer this installation of mini-monuments to ponder the architecture of our current relationship to equity, justice, reparations, accountability, privilege, civic responsibility, codes of silence, generational trauma, tradition, legacy, apology, and national inheritance. With this installation, I revisit a community awaiting acknowledgment, a possible black utopia stalled several times in the making. I apply tactile layers of paint like scars atop historical, archival photographs. I collaborative with past witnesses, rupturing historical narratives to pose questions about agency and how these stories are told. Each work in the Notes from Black Wall Street series doubles as a prompt to meditate on the future of our complicit fictions, suppressed memories, and united histories.