Jambi Says (Feb 2024)


“Jambi Says” March 2024; 24”x 36” MIXED MEDIA: faux flowers, acrylics, & magazine strips on canvas; $3333
The poem reads:

There’s a hidden heart in every painting
Confronting conformity with what started as a simple promise:
Global Black identity in all its diversity

“I had imagined choice, evolving and connecting different generations.
For many, giving birth to hope isn’t ordinary.
“Superwoman” feels like an expectation,
a role we are obligated to assume.
That pressure comes with a price.
You really have to love yourself through the tough times.
Hold all your change on the inside.
Remember that exhaustion isn’t normal.
I’ve learned to let go of most of the “what ifs” and just enjoy the ride.
Go with gratitude and you’ll feel it too.
I believe art to be a verb
and not a noun.
It’s an action.
It’s growth.
There is no doubt that we’re not for everybody and we’re not trying to be.
Across generations,
agents of influence reminded us
of the many black women choosing a new concept of living.
The power to realize your dreams has presented us with the opportunity to be really open with our thinking…
What gives you hope?”

This painting is a meditation on hope and the potential of Blackness, paying homage to John Dixon Paragon, who portrayed Jambi the Genie on "Peewee's Playhouse." As one of the first impressions of Black Queer intersectional identities on TV, his playful portrayal inspired me. Using magazine strips, I crafted a poem reflecting on the aspirations instilled in us about Black possibility. Yet, it also addresses the ongoing work for liberation, emphasizing individual power and prompting viewers to contemplate their hopes.