Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2023

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author's Department

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art

Degree Type



I create because I mourn, to seek comfort in the knowing and sharing of Suppressed Histories, and to find joy in the rediscovering of lost stories. I create the vessel, which for me is akin to the human body. A form containing memories, wisdom, a soul, and a space for transportation between plains. I paint to capture moments in times of joy and sorrow. To make memoriam, I pay homage to past, present, and future.



Program Chair

Lisa Bulawsky

Thesis Text Advisor

Denise Ward-Brown

Thesis Text Advisor

Monika Weiss

Faculty Mentor

Jamie Adams

Committee Member

Jack Risley

Committee Member

Cheryl Wassenaar

Committee Member

Andrea Moon

Artist's Statement

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” ~Toni Morrison

Visual language for we, the artists, is a tool used for more than the sharing of words. It is a tool used to evoke emotion, questions, and change; to create our own worlds. I use it to explore histories, foreign and yet still familiar to my African American upbringing. Layers of memory and tradition littered with rites and ritual of a peoples who have been diluted through generations. Watered down through the slave trade. Visual narratives of the African American Diaspora often center solely on the figure, the political experience, or Trans-Atlantic slave trade. What I find interesting in these narratives is how identity is the focal point. But who are We? Are we defined by our experiences and the stories of our elders or critical race theory; is this the measure of our blackness? Selfhood is curated by roles we partake in, the rewards of lived experiences, seeing the next generation persevere, but frequently with love, hurt, and discovery.

In this exploration of work, I celebrate the stories of African American and African tradition, a lost and adapted religion, the black mourning. As I find that our experiences are intersectional and universal, some nuanced with ritual passed on through survival and resilience, I pay homage to the traces left behind. During my practice, I hope to encounter what every aspect of my heritage consists of, to express through a marrying of craft and fine art through the Western lens. My language exists in a world culminated in assemblage and installation made of paint, clay, water, and fire.