My current project,The Pineapple Metaphor: Expanding the Narrative, is a collection of hopeful, transformative, cultured, spiritual, and symbolic paintings that encompass my sensibilities of perceiving and digesting my life and the life around me. As a Black woman from Mississippi, my cultural roots have imposed a powerful influence on my art process. My work is a conversation between myself and place, using art as a paradoxical intervention to address racial trauma at its core. Integrating the pineapple’s growth and journey as a guiding metaphor, I dissect the fruit into three components: the cradle, core, and crown, to consider the impact of cultural history, personal narratives, and community on sustaining mental and emotional wellness.
I welcome a critical view of one’s Lebenswelt (life-world) impacted by the direct and indirect societal ills of trauma, poverty, and racism. By deepening the meaning of symbolism, I take a closer look at the history of the pineapple and its parallel to Black aesthetics. In responding to the lack of cultural considerations when addressing trauma within the Black community, I repurpose the pineapple and use its origin and journey to tell a different story—one of the Black experience as it relates to the mental health crises and survival in America. You are what you EAT!
The pineapple is symbolic, as it establishes a vibration for mental activity. I challenge old perspectives by creating positive memories to redefine narratives bound by trauma. I expect my audience to see my use of symbolism as a way to capture a snapshot of their own individual trauma and marry it with healing. Through my vision and use of the pineapple, I imagine getting to the “core” of trauma. My artwork is the bridge that leads to that first step.