To me, Art represents an exploration of the truths that lie at the intersections of spirituality and culture. It is a way in which we, as artists, can give shape and form to the unseeable realities of life that define who we are as human beings. I have spent my career traveling, researching, and experimenting with global artistic traditions and techniques to see how people in different places and cultural moments find ways to express what emanates from their spiritual core. Through my travels I am constantly searching for what connects us rather than what divides us which means I have to look deeper into the human condition than race or nationality and create ways to portray the beauty that resides in that depth through my artwork.
This journey has led me to live in a rural community in Haiti since 2007 where my art has evolved to depict those in my immediate environment, young Haitians, and how the world affects them at the deepest, most central parts of their being. My recent work involves the use of patterned sequin designs which are inspired by the traditional use of sequins in Haitian voudun flags. The sequins in these flags have historically played a central role in rituals drawing believers into trance-like encounters with the various spiritual powers that dominate voudun practice. In my work, the sequins serve a similar purpose to draw the viewer into a spiritual experience through the art beyond the physical and visual experience. I have combined these techniques with the traditional art of mandalas that originates in South Asian Buddhist and Hindu practices. The mandalas themselves relate to the sequins as a gateway to the spiritual world, representing the cosmos and wholeness. But beyond their spiritual significance, I have chosen to explore this relationship because of the current social and political relationship that Haiti maintains with the South Asian country of Nepal. Both countries have had devastating earthquakes in recent years that have left their populations struggling to recover and looking to spiritual sources for relief. The two countries have a complicated relationship as well because of the cholera epidemic that has ravaged the Haitian population has been proven to have it’s source in Nepal, transmitted through the UN peacekeepers. So by creating art that combines the spiritual artforms from both cultures it elevates the relationship beyond these disasters and their effects, but portrays a sense of strength that radiates from the spiritual epicenters of these cultures. Much like an earthquake has an epicenter where the force is the strongest, these spiritual artforms cause us to look at the strength at our core from which everything that we are radiates from. Combining these artforms then with my own traditional training in figure painting and portraiture brings a more personal voice to each composition. For myself, the greatest way to express a spiritual reality is through the physical human body, the vessel for the spirit. With my models being close friends of mine from Haiti, they each become individual representations of the spiritual and cultural realities that are expressed through the backgrounds and borders.