Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.F.A. in Art


Art and Art History

First Advisor

Philip Jackson

Second Advisor

Josh Brinlee

Third Advisor

Sheri Rieth

Relational Format



Abstract: "an America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future." Ta-Nehisi Coates my work deals with the ideas of blackness and southern culture. Born in Memphis, Tennessee on the heels of the civil rights movement, I cannot help but to be shaped by the aftermath of integration and the ideals of equality. The south is more than a geographical location; it is a cultural distinction. My life has been shaped by these cultural experiences. Inspired by family stories, my art references a lingering past and also reflects my life experiences as a black man living in the south. In Mississippi I had the opportunity to see the fields of cotton reminiscent of the stories my family often told when I was young. My granddad told of how they loaded wagons to chop cotton in the spring and pick cotton in the fall. The values of a person were based on faith, family, and work. Those ideals were constantly challenged by Jim Crow and made it difficult for blacks to realize the American dream. I feel compelled to create art that challenges socially accepted "truths" versus fallacy. I confront contemporary social issues influenced by its legacy of white supremacy. We still inhabit a world intolerant of the unique cultural differences we all share.


Emphasis: Painting

Included in

Painting Commons



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