An Essay on Black Abstractionism
BY DELA ANYAH
Peace, calm, focus, minimalism are the words that come to me when I first think about these works. It's about decluttering the past, moving away from the many options of color, forms and sticking with one.
It’s a representation of our blackness in abstract forms. It’s a representation of our story, our journey also symbolized by the use of upcycled rubber tire tubes signifying migration; interwoven tires signifying our interconnected journeys and stories, aligning no matter where we find ourselves.
Each body of work’s nomenclature pays homage to its origin—Ghana—by having a numerical and Ewe name. Each name means road or mɔ in the Ewe language. The woven tires become paths connecting individual journeys. The larger the road (N1 or National Highway) the more the paths. Symbolic of our oneness, no matter where we find ourselves.
Black Abstractionism is about value; our value not being in past negative narratives of who we were, but in who we can become. These works reveal a tri-image: a past, present and a future. We look deeply at each work and see its new beauty, but also reminisce on its previous form, journey and narrative only to better appreciate its new value. It’s about the shedding of old narratives about ourselves and embracing our new forms and value as humans.