7b. Specific works depicting Africans?
So, these feelings are all present when I do a sculpture that's African in nature, like the small woman over here, the Mauritanian woman. She came from a photograph that just struck me. Frequently I'll see photographs that just have to become sculptures and I relate to them in a certain way. I relate to her as if that's a self portrait and she doesn't look anything like me. But her spirit, her presence, feels like what I feel and it feels as if she has experienced the things that I've experienced and I've experienced some very difficult times in my life. I talk about all the good stuff but there was some really rough stuff also and I feel as if the kind of calm resignation that she sits there and just observes the world. I call her The Sentinel because she's the watcher. She watches kind of without a lot of involvement, a lot of judgment but observing. Now, The large echo of this sculpture, cast in bronze , sits forever in the Forest Hills Cemetery where she belongs. Her presence spreads out through the trees and over to the pond and brings peace.
I did this piece of the Masaï Warrior. It wasn't
a commission. Neither of these pieces were commissioned works. I'd always wanted
to do a Masai warrior, because in Kenya we saw them dance and they were frequently
just hanging around the streets in Nairobi, always garbed in their red robes
with their fabulous jewelry and their spears. I always felt that these people
are so sure of themselves, so confident that where they standin the world is
right for them and they are not having any of this western "Change me,
make me better, take away what I believe, what I am and turn me into some reflection
of you." That is not happening for the Masai. I love that, I love that.
And the men are so expressive in their ornamentation of themselves. So I
did this sculpture of a Masai warrior as he puts on his makeup and prepares for the dance or whatever.