October/November 2015… To begin my dissertation, I researched Augusta to express her depiction of race and identity.
image: ‘Realization, 1938’. Scale, Unknown, clay/plaster
The Harlem Renaissance 1918-1937 promoted civil rights for the African-American cultural identity, it was a movement that represented authors, artists, musicians, photographers, poets, and scholars. Names include Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, Sterling ALLEN Brown, Claude McKay, Augusta Savage, Wallace Thurman and James Weldon Johnson, to name but a few. This uplifting the culture, giving understanding through the arts’ the Black ethnic group was significant because the culture needed empowering due to the centuries of oppression.
The Black Power Movement in the 1960s promoted the reclaiming of natural Afro hair to be a powerful adornment to be proud of, instead of the use of hair processes and chemicals which change the natural coil of the Afro hair type, to fit in. Therefore, accepting their heritage and natural style as well as having an understanding of self. Reclaiming positive self-images and representation. This perception and acceptance are essential because society and media have not always included nor represented them or their characteristics appropriately.
Having groups like the Harlem Renaissance, 1918 -1937, and The Black power movement gave Black culture a president to build and yield from oppression. Like having a mum and dad encouraging you, having faith in you and your abilities. An ideal family experience.
Augusta Savage: 1895 to 1965 sculpturess
Her work depicted race and identity, in this particular piece, ‘Realisation’ 1938, Savage portrayed the sign of the times, her time, her cultural lens. In 1938, American was suffering during the ‘Great Depression’, World War II was brewing, and Hitler was ethnically cleansing.
The connection I made with Augusta Savage’s, artwork ‘Lift every voice’ brought me back to a sculpture, I created a self-portrait, ‘finding my voice’, 2012, 5ft.8, (including box,) plaster. Images of my sculpture inserted below. Also, Savage’s work was demolished after it was exhibited, (as was my sculpture, inserted below). Yes. Oh my goodness! Thank God for technology/ photography – that enabled us to have images that captured the artwork. Savage’s art being demolished to me was a great disappointment, heartbreaking in fact, and a real loss to the art world, she was a true artisan. Imagine, the dedication, and amount of time and effort; putting your wholeself into making and achieving, for it then to be discarded…
Future thoughts… to research and create more sculpture.
‘finding my voice’ 2011/12.- 5ft8
can you believe this was thrown out…