Assemblage: Deconstructed aṣọ òkè Ghanian cotton garment, iron, steel and brass keys (cut and blanks), oak wood, acrylic paint, embroidery thread, iron chain, locks, wood beads, leather H 48” x W 48” x D 3” (2017)
Symbols and Symbolism Dates: 1867 – 2017 Alabama State University 150th year anniversary Deconstructed Cotton Garment known as “Fugu” (Foo-Goo): Also known as Batakari or an African “smock”; this hand woven cotton garment from Ghana, connects Africa to America. Ghana, a nation on the west coast of Africa devastated by the slave trade. Incidentally, cotton was a primary crop associated with slave labor. 9 Keys Around Collar: Marion Nine (A.S.U. founders) 150 Total Keys (includes 9): Alabama State University’s 150th year anniversary Keys: Freedom, Knowledge, Access; opening and closing power Skeleton Keys (blanks and cut): Access to more than one lock, Ancestors Locks: Exclusion, Imprisonment, Security Inscriptions on Locks - American Symbolisms: US, American, Eagle, MADE IN U.S.A. Old Gold and Black Thread: Alabama State University’s school colors Chain: Restraint, Imprisonment, Bondage Broken Chain: Freedom, Liberation, Expression, Individualism Oak Wood: Strength, Endurance, Wisdom. One of many woods used to construct slave ships as well as early schools and school furniture. The oak board was part of a southern courthouse record room table used to hold record books, which held recordings of property documents, including chattel slave records.
These symbols and symbolisms are only a few of the many incorporated in this artwork. The viewer may find additional or different meanings based upon their history and individual experiences they bring to this work of art.