Root Work Journal - Navigating the Ocean - Volume 1, Issue 2
A Woman's Worth & Fish and Grits
Afi Ese is an African American contemporary realism and figurtive conceptual artist living in Houston, Texas with roots in Togo and Mali. The artworks of Afi Ese represent and venerate the rich history of the West African diaspora with an emphasis on gener- ational trauma and triumph in Black America. As a child of the diaspora, her paintings are conceptualized narratives of the African plight through the eyes of a self-aware Black American. She combines and re-imagines historical events and attributes spe- cific to the Black American experience. In doing so, she gets to shine a spotlight on the beauty and resilience of her community by using the gifts and talents given by her ancestors. She recognizes the importance of positive black images in daily life and uses her work to help direct the Black narrative and experience in an honest and transparent fashion. Ese wants each piece to leave the viewer feeling cuturally empered, especially the youth. She tries to embed boldfresh images in the minds of viewers and hopes to replace some of the mis-education and misleading imagery that plagues her community.
A Woman's Worth: Water brought us all into life. Water took our ancestors all over the globe. Water also became a large divide between home and a new world. Till this day, we are trying to Cnd our way back. A woman's worth has several messages, one that speaks to a longing for reconnection after being torn away from all she knows and loves.
Fish & Grits: Fish and grits is an artistic depiction of hoodoo life and how food and water play intricate roles. Water is a life force that sustains us physically and spiritually. We are born in it, we need it everyday, and it washes us clean of stress, pain, and fault. Fish and grits is a reminder of this culture and how we are so deeply connected.