America's Whispered Truths
America's Whispered Truths is an exhibition consisting of a compilation of 3 bodies of work: In the Hood, Nodder Doll/Living Doll, and In Mixed Company. The goal of this work is to address some of America's social dilemmas.
In the Hood exploits the KKK’s symbol of racism in America.Through socio-political satire the work alluded to the irrationality of America's nouveau KKK (a vocal extreme right faction of the new Tea Party) and its rise to the mainstream with its shameless, divisive rhetoric and obsession with race, blame, and hyperbole. In the Hood contrasts elements of the defiant, ever present, mocked, ridiculed, yet copied Hip Hop culture, with the phenomena of the (then) new emerging Tea Party. The farcical parody is the juxtaposition of this unlikely pair. The union weds the KKK with the very culture it may hate so much, thus becoming perhaps its metaphorical worst nightmare.
In the series Nodder Doll/ Living Doll, the nodder (bobble head) picaninny banks, made of ceramic and chalk were in the Japan in the 1950's. They were marketed and sold to white America as souvenir, a novelty, as Black Americana. Willie defiantly reclaims, re-presents them; to elevate and celebrate their beauty from the ill-conceived form of degradation they originally represent. The assemblages sit proudly beside large-scale figurative portrait-like paintings on canvas and wood panel. The work hints and suggests the pieces could be living, breathing modern day adult manifestations of today's Black woman
Through the use of iconography, found objects, the Nodder Doll/ Living Doll the work becomes a trumpet or a mouth piece, speaking to the subversive nature of racism in the past and present. I reclaim the disrespectful and insulting fruits and use found objects to embrace today's real-life issues and struggles to evoke today's Black woman's challenges, strength and her resilience.
In Mixed Company, explores the phenomena known as the “privileged conversation” – those true southern tête-à-têtes spoken only intra-racially and never in mixed company. Often where black and white farms of my childhood stood side by side, the prejudices and notions spoken on one side of the fence were vibrantly echoed on the other --- never together.
Moreover, this works notion is to opens the arena of the kitchen table, behind closed doors, shocking, funny, in your face, those stereotypical intra-racial conversations, never meant to be shared with those of any other race than their own.
*In the Hood has been funded in part by a 2010 grant from the Pollock Krasner Foundation.
*In Mixed Company has been funded in part by a 2006 grant from the Pollock Krasner Foundation