Thursday, March 11, 2010

Biting the Bullet.

Today has been filled with emotion over two things, Truth and Love. Bursting out today I have smiled, laughed, cried, been inspired and felt totally expired. And all because of those two elements and the weight that they hold behind them. Truth, the truth about why we do what we do, what do we really strive for with our lives and what drives us? I have been taking pictures for other people for a while now and its fun, I get paid well and I enjoy my job, but wasn’t the whole reason I began my career to be a visual artist? Taking the elements of our social surroundings and pushing these things into the minds of people through art, beautiful photographs depicting a message, a theme, a hope, a source of empowerment.
And so today I went in search of my Truth, my element the place where I really shine, bit the bullet and started my next photography collection.  Assisted by GLORIA WAVAMUNNO with her beautiful dresses and artistic hand I began to photograph the Contemporary Tribe.   A collection based around my Truths, my Poetry and my Love.  Because that was my second emotional battle today, the journey and the true growth of love, how it evolves or goes through its rough patches but eventually how you can begin to believe that it can triumph.
I am not a big believer in the statement that “love can conquer all” but it is growing on me. Especially when you realize that it is impossible for love to exist or grow without the aid of compromise, compassion and understanding. Realizing what is worth fighting for and what simply isn’t. And this might all sound confusing to you but what I am trying to put across is that recently I have been doing what I love to survive, but not completely loving what it was I was doing.  But once you reconnect with the truth of why you are there in the first place, the mind expands and moves to a place where you know what you have to do to love what you do again.  For me it was taking a step back from getting paid and starting my newest collection of Art.
Now I won’t pretend like ideas just come to you, like love itself this concept grew and grew until it was embedded in my mind like I couldn’t shake it off. The idea of The Contemporary Tribe began with a girl, one Miss Gloria Wavamunno who decided that she would one night sport some tribal Zulu face paint.  This combination of dot formations and bare skin moved me like I had never seen her look so sexy.  And I wanted some.  Some of that essence, that confidence, that complete and utter tribal beauty.  So I began to research.  Hoping to look into the past and use it to find strength in my contemporary environments. I believe that: WOMEN NEED TO LOOK TO THE WOMEN BEFORE THEM, FEEL THEIR STRUGGLES AND BURDENS AND USE THAT SENSE OF SURVIVAL TO COMBAT CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS AND MINDSETS.  
Tribe. What is the tribe? Who is the tribe and how can we be a part of one? It is beautiful and liberating to be independent. To want for nothing from others, and to know that we are completely self sufficient.  However, a life without community and support is a lonely one. With no friends around us who are we but lone void vessels coexisting on one planet? And that is why we have tribes?
Traditionally, collective groups who are born and raised in the same community or area who have common threads which run through their lives.  Tribes are formed when people come together and decide to support one another, share beliefs and lifestyle choices. And over time, we have been colonized, modernized and reorganized. We have lost our tribal history in an attempt to liberate ourselves from some of its constraints but also we have lost some of its beauties, cultures and spirituality.
One of the most beautiful cultural elements of traditional tribes is the face paint.  From the Zulu’s to the Red Indians Tribes used face paint outwardly show their communities their, status, achievement, goals and intentions.  The paint connects them spiritually to the earth and their ancestors and draws on Mother Nature’s power to live their lives successfully. 
Thinking about all of this I begin to realize that in a strange way I am part of my own tribe.  And it’s not just within my direct living space, it is worldwide.  We are the tribe of Men and Women, New Bloods, African Bloods. We are ambitious Africans of mixed races and cultures who take pride in our heritage but at the same time strive to move mountains in our lives.  And I feel that we need to look to our ancestors before us…and take on some of their beautiful traditions and use them to empower us in our contemporary lives.  Reconnecting with the spirits of before to find strength, encouragement and beauty.  

This is what my whole project is about. Finding the beauty in our past, these beautiful face paints, combination's of dots which project a mindset, a confidence or a state of openly.  This project is about wearing your ‘African Roots’ openly and proudly. 
Dresses and makeup provided by Gloria Wavamunno

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