Three Sisters: The Art of Robin Holder, Sonya A. Lawyer and Tamara Natalie Madden features works by three contemporary African American women artists who work in different media but explore issues of ethnicity, identity, history and culture in their work.
ROBIN HOLDER'S works are inspired by issues of empowerment and integrity as well as the complexities of American identity: culture, gender, class, race and ethnicity. The works in her series Behind Each Window, A Voice, were inspired by oral histories of eight of her neighbors in Brooklyn, New York. Issues of race, social and political victimization, and ideas about society are shared by each of the subjects in their personal histories. The works are a combination of painting, collage and printmaking techniques.
SONYA LAWYER'S photographic transfers combine imagery from vintage photographs with modern hand-dyed cotton fabric. The photographs were collected by the artist from vintage photo albums purchased at antique stores and through online auctions. Concerned that pieces of history were literally being torn apart and sold to the highest bidder, Lawyer was prompted to start acquiring images in order to protect them from further disturbance. Works from two series, Searching For Beulah (limit of disturbance) and Finding Authenticity (does anyone remember?) contain singular images of men and women of color juxtaposed with fabric blocks of varying hues. The works are a celebration of the persons depicted, each work revealing strength, pride, beauty and a quintessential timelessness. The artist has taken these once discarded mementoes and transformed them, giving them new meaning.
TAMARA NATALIE MADDEN, in her recent series of mixed media paintings, creates images of kings,queens and warriors, using everyday people as her inspiration. Recognizing the struggles of the working class, the unseen and unheard, Madden chooses to depict them as kings and queens, as a means of expressing appreciation for their experiences, struggles and triumphs. The paintings are layered with quilted fabrics, which represent regal clothing and, symbolically, storytelling and 20 quilts reflecting African traditions. The birds in the paintings represent a sense of freedom.