Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sisters' Road

Sisters' Road (2012) - Ramona Dallum Lindsey
Life is a journey that should not be traveled alone. It is riddled with peaks and valleys that are best navigated with experience, knowledge, and wisdom.  When two or more walk together, the impact of experience, knowledge and wisdom improves.  Men journey differently through life than women.   Women depend on a strong, enduring sisterhood to navigate our journey.  We depend on like minded women committed to purposes greater than the individual. As each woman connects to the sisterhood, she finds the strength to identify and fulfill her purpose.

Sisters' Road is a triptych consisting of three related panels - Founders' Road, Builders' Road, and Legacies' Road.  Together these panels tell the story of an enduring sisterhood.
Each form symbolizes mind, body, and spirit connected by faith, hope, and love.  They stand proudly on a crimson road showcasing their courage and strength to be undeterred against challenges in life's journey. When the three panels are placed side by side one can see in the distance the courage of the founders shoulder to shoulder staking the foundation for a lasting sisterhood.   The chain continues as sisters work together to build upon the founders' goals and missions. Lastly, the legacy of the sisterhood is dependent on the efforts of current and future members to radiate into the world.
Women often find themselves belonging to a number of sisterhoods.  Some were born into a sisterhood through the union of their parents. Faith made others members of spiritual sisterhoods.  Common interests encouraged some women to create social sisterhoods. Some sisterhoods encompass many areas of women's lives.  Delta SigmaTheta Sorority, Inc. is such a sisterhood.  It was found January 13, 1913 as a sisterhood of black college educated women committed to public service.  Many of the sorority's defining principles are rooted in Christian principles.  I became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in 1991.  Sisters' Road is my tribute to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the many sisterhoods embodied by its members.  

Sisters' Road will be featured at Gallery D'Estee March 2nd & 3rd at the Parkway Ballroom.   The triptych will be available for purchase. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Abundance (2012)

Abundance (2012) - Ramona Dallum Lindsey, Artist
A down turned economy is like a drought in a once fertile land.   The plants and animals that most quickly adjust to their changed environment survive.  Those who don’t perish.  However, there are some natural creations that position themselves to thrive regardless of environmental conditions.

Take for instance a seed planted near the bank of a vibrant stream where the soil isn’t too rock. The soil’s fertilized by the droppings of the animals who visit daily for a cool drink. The sunlight which warms the stream also provides energy for the seed.  When the seed sprouts its roots become anchored deep beneath the stream.  The seed develops into a sapling. 

Over time it matures into a mighty oak.  Strong branches support a lush, emerald canopy shading the stream.  It learns to sway with strong winds constantly anchored by the stream’s rich soil and nourishment. During a season of consistent rain the stream is fed. The water supply is abundant.  In periods of drought the stream is diminished, but its moisture continues to seep into the soil.  The roots planted beneath the stream absorb the soils moisture.  While trees further from the stream whither and wilt, the mighty oak continues to thrive.

People who properly position themselves will do more than survive in tough times.   Some people position themselves through education, training, and networking.  These are external resources that  are often dependent on environmental conditions.  Their reliability may become questionable in the most challenging conditions. Others look inward and upward for proper positioning.  They depend on spirituality, faith, and belief. 
Abundance is the fourth tree in the Trees of Life Series.  It reminds each of us to position ourselves before the tough times so we can thrive in both times of plenty and famine.  It shows us how to be like the biblical person in Jeremiah 17:7-8 who's faith is like a tree planted by a riverbank who is not bothered or worried by months of drought, but continues to produce lush, healthy fruit.  Abundance is the first tree in the series to incorporate wrapped wool fibers and hand crotchet techniques.  It is the smallest of the four trees in the series, but showcases the most intricate details.

Abundance can be seen and purchased at Gallery D'estee on March 2nd and 3rd at the Parkway Ballroom in Chicago, Illinois.  Visit Gallery D'estee 2012: Art InTENsified for more information.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sudanese Shelter

Sudanese Shelter (2011) - Ramona Dallum Lindsey, Artist
Nature's creatures depend on trees for nourishment and shelter.  Birds nest in their lush leaves.  Insects hide in the crevices of its bark.  Snakes slither around outstretched branches.  In the late 1980's unexpected creatures climbed the trunks of strong trees seeking the protective crooks of their branches.

Southern Sudan was home to a deadly civil war in the 1980's.  Thousands of young boys fled as their villages and families were destroyed by government sponsored militia raids.   These young children became homeless orphans.   They were internationally known as the Lost Boys of Sudan.

While living in Auburn, Alabama I met one of these young men. He was a member of Auburn University's track team.  Through his coach's wife, I learned how he, his brother, and other boys sought refuge from government militia patrols.  They hid in the branches of trees during the day and walked under the cover of darkness until they reached Ethiopian and Kenyan refugee camps.  These young boys walked thousands of miles over a period of months to reach safety.  The Auburn athlete and his brother eventually resettled in the U.S.  They were among approximately 3800 Lost Boys who started new lives in the United States.

Sudanese Shelter, the third tree in the Trees of Life Series,  is my tribute to the resiliency and perseverance of the human spirit.  It is also a reminder of the unnatural impact of hate. It will be on display and available at Gallery D'estee: Art Intensified March 2nd and 3rd, 2012.   More information about Gallery D'estee is available at http://chicagodeltas.com/2012/02/art-intensified-and-art-demystified/.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The White Tree: Remembering Jena

The White Tree (2011), Ramona Dallum Lindsey
Racism and hate are an established part of the United States of America’s history.  America’s southern  states’ were built on an agrarian economy based on slave labor.   This economy thrived due to the establishment of a class system based on race. This system led to legalized inequality favoring the white privileged class and suppressing  the black class.  Political, military and social battles have ensued throughout  America’s history to right this imbalance.  The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s took great steps towards providing racial equality.  However, America still has issues of racial inequality to address.    This became evident in Jena, Louisiana during the fall of 2006.  A series of incidents in that small Louisiana town brought to light America’s continued need to address her problem of hate.

There are various interpretations of the events that led to what became known as the Jena 6.  However all accounts began with a tree growing on the campus of Jena’s desegregated high school with a very small percentage of black students.    The tree was known as the “White Tree”.  Only white students were allowed to sit beneath its shade.   At the beginning of the school year a small group of black freshman students attempted to  sit under the tree.  The following day nooses hung  from the tree.  Historically nooses where used as a form of intimidation to prevent  blacks from challenging the written and unwritten laws maintaining Jim Crow laws separating the races.  The principal of Jena High School expelled the white students responsible for hanging the nooses.  However, Jena’s school superintendent reinstated the students  saying that the white students were only participating in a youthful prank not warranting expulsion.

The black community was in an uproar over their perceived mishandling of the situation.  The small town was soon divided across racial lines.   Several altercations occurred between white and black students.  In many of these, the local justice system released with warnings white students accused of inciting altercations while black students faced harsher punishments.  The trouble in Jena reached a climax when 5 black students beat a white student on the school campus.  There were discrepancies regarding the reason for the attack.  Nonetheless, the majority of the black students were charged with attempted murder and jailed.  This was in stark contrast to white students who were released after beating a black student in an earlier separate, unrelated   altercation.  This unequal justice led to the largest civil rights march since the 1960s.

The White Tree stands as a stark reminder to the consequences when hate is not confronted.  Trees naturally provide shelter to all creatures.  The tree in Jena was used unnaturally to separate.  Our nation’s youth depend on adults to create systems that protect all of them regardless of class, race, or gender.  When those systems do not work everyone is negatively impacted.  The White Tree forces us to remember the young lives damaged because of adults’ inability to correct the issues of racism. Justin Barker (17), Robert Bailey (17), Mychal Bell (16), Carwin Jones (18), Bryant Purvis (17), Jesse Ray Beard (14), and Theo Shaw (17) stand as reminders for adults to face and deal with the reality of racism.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Wisdom Tree

 Wisdom Tree (2011) - Ramona Dallum Lindsey, Artist
The Wisdom Tree is the first in the Trees of Life Series.  It was created with the assistance of Carolyn Crump, a noted textile artist living in Houston, Texas who is well versed in 3D textile sculpture.  She helped me bring my creative vision to life by showing me the basics of 3D construction. She also introduced me to methods of incorporating acrylic paints and water color pencils into my work.  These elements showing up consistently in my work.

The Wisdom Tree is a metaphor for life.  It is a visual representation of the various stages in the life of an individual. The journey starts at the tree's base.  At some point in life each person feels insignificant.  She is a small creature in a large world struggling to find her way. She spends her time climbing over seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  The caterpillars on the rocks symbolize this stage in life's journey.

As a person grows, she realizes knowledge is key for success.  Once knowledge is found, a person must feed from knowledge and apply it.  Applied knowledge becomes wisdom.  The wrinkles and frown lines in an older person's face are a badge of honor testifying to the experiences shaping wisdom.  The tree represents wisdom.  Her face is a badge of honor. Her roots are firmly rooted in a strong foundation.  She doesn't horde her wisdom, but freely shares it with anyone needing to feed from it. 

The ultimate goal of life's journey is the discovery of purpose. Feeding from wisdom gives someone the energy to transform from insignificance to importance. The butterflies represent this transformation.  Once the transformation is complete the butterflies must fly to share their beauty with the world. Each person must follow the butterflies example.  Sharing your individual purpose with the world signifies the completion of an important stage in life's journey.

The Wisdom Tree has been shown at several Chicagoland venues.  These included Fine Art of Fiber (Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL), A.R.I.S.E Small Business Expo (House http://www.houseofhope-chicago.org/of Hope, Chicago, IL), and The Peace Concert Series (Soka Gakkai International Cultural Center, Chicago, IL).   It will also be on display and available for purchase at the Gallery D'estee sponsored by the Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and State Farm.  The show is scheduled for  March 2nd (6pm - 8pm) and March 3rd (2pm - 8pm) at the Parkway Ballroom (4455 S. King Dr., Chicago, IL).  Gallery D'estee admission is free.