The Jones-Carter Gallery presents an exhibit by artist Shanequa Gay, titled “Her Spirit Will Be Our Guide on the Way”.
The most honored member of a tribe is its griot or storyteller as they are believed to be the keepers of memory. Through mask making, fabric design and wall paintings Gay holds a memory for Breonna Taylor, Korryn Gaines, and Sandra Bland. Using the bold bright colors and pattern references from Dutch wax print along with the hidden layers of meaning and symbology translated through patchwork quilts, a medium most affiliated with making do with what you have to create covering and safety, each frame is assembled together to share a cohesive narrative of loss and restoration. Watermelon seeds, cowrie shells, braided hair, sparrows, and Black-Eyed Susans encode symbolic knowledge and covert social protest for freedom, power, femininity, spirituality, community, protection, cleansing, continuity, and deep trust. From an indigenous worldview, during times of civil unrest and momentous change seeking to commune with the animal world or outer realm to engage with the human world or inner realm can serve the purpose of radical transformation. By amalgamating these women with animal forms, Gay seeks to participate in the ritual of shapeshifting and to engage with the supernatural for the purpose of community healing and social justice through spiritual activism.