There are misconceptions. One is that purchasing art helps artists…
|Detail, Oba's Crown, © CRB|
When ancient civilizations are excavated, the heart of that culture is revealed through the transforming power of that society’s artists manipulation of paints, dyes, clay, thread, fabric, words, glass, and so on, for the creation of pottery, clothes, quilts, sacred beaded objects, poetry and song, to name a few. After the invention of the first wheel, for example,
carriages, wagons, cars and other modes of transportation became anecdotal to the extraordinary finds left from the minds and hearts of indigenous artists.
|The Ancestor Table, Inspired by Haitan Drapo|
Artists (ancient and contemporary) narrate culture so that sacred revelations are made clear for future generations. Professional artists do not wish to join ranks with some ancient artists who are simply known as anonymous. Instead, professional artists actively seek culturally conscious individuals and philanthropic organizations that wish to participate in legacies of cultures they respect, and even hold dear.
In other words, artists need curators, caretakers committed to the
|From the French. . .a Child's Jacket, © CRB|
preservation of that artist’s work, who will then bequeath those objects to other interested parties, narrative of meaning and function intact. Factory-made reproductions are then exposed as copies and unworthy of study and documentation.
A modern day example of this unworthiness can be found in the actions of the Smithsonian, a great institution charged with the maintenance and preservation of American culture.
|Wise Women Brewing, © CRB|
American quilts and quilting, invented by free, enslaved and indentured men, women, and children, is a phenomenon of technical commingling—resources and skill—that created quilt patterns such as Drunkard’s Path, Crazy, Wedding Ring, and Bear Claw, to name a few. The Smithsonian sold these patterns to
In turn, American consumers now purchase mass produced quilts for $400, instead of a professional artist made quilt for considerably more, depending on style, technique, size and function. One of the quilts, “…the Bible quilt, a symbol-laden 1886 work by Harriet Powers, a freed slave from Georgia [was] pictured in the Spiegel catalogue. Pillow shams and small hooked rugs to match are offered as well.”
If so-called keepers of our culture can sell our birthright to foreign
lands, is it any wonder the average American has no understanding of
legacy, or how this legacy is made manifest through the appreciation of artists
who narrate it.
|Beaded Gourd, Aganju, © CRB|
Recently, I spoke with my granddaughters, Renae Green and Timmee Gaines, and great granddaughter, Dakota Livsey, about my Yorùbá, Lùkùmí beadwork and quilts. They understand the magnitude of their responsibility as future curators and caretakers so that no stranger will ever need write scholarly papers, for example, or off-putting, speculative theories based on that writer’s ignorance concerning my intent.
At the next opportunity to speak with professional artists about
potential commissions and purchases, separate the artist from the work.
Remember, we are not charity cases. Remember, we will continue to create, not
based (like factories) on potential sales. We create our
work because of divine inspiration and directive.
|Abebe, Yemonja, © CRB|
When I purchase art from professional artists, I am participating in the legacy of that artist’s culture.
If no one ever purchases my work, I will continue because I am a living, active participant in the legacy of my culture. I narrate the heart, beat and soul of people who may not even realize they have hearts and beats and soul. I stimulate the threads of faith in something greater than trinkets massed produced in the
or abroad. Each piece I create is born of its own transformative power. United States
|Drag Doll Bebe|
I am not a charity case. I am not anonymous. I am Cathleen Margaret Richardson Bailey (Ala Ofun):
- mother of Monica Dorothy Lynn, Kamilah Christine, Lela Margaret and Jasmine Christina
- daughter of James and Christine Richardson
- granddaughter of Cathleen and Joseph Shefton, and Boyce and Lela Mae Richardson
- great granddaughter of Margaret Maynard, and Bob and Ellen Richardson
- great great granddaughter of Margaret the Blacksmith and Ben the Bone Thrower, and Lucinda Pickinpack.
When you purchase my work, you hold authenticity, the heart and beat of my culture. Be prepared to curate.
If you would like to share this post or any of its images, please credit me and include my web address. Thank you.
|Signatures of Gods and Men, © CRB|