Through the use of mixed media, the Dancing Belles explores the experiences of black women, women of colour overcoming voices that limit their movement and barriers that limit the full birth of their creative potential. The symbolism of the goddess is manifested through the artist’s ‘dancing belle’ character, as a way of sensitively navigating the struggles this cultural and ethnic group faces. Tracing historical hardships that have cascaded into the now, the Black Venus moves beyond the shackles of colonialism, and instead embraces a rich history of culture, sisterhood and creative processes as a means of empowerment.
My goal is to move away from the pressure to produce delicate, commercial/socially acceptable work. I want to seize the opportunity to express the aforementioned struggles truthfully and unashamedly, while still retaining the glimmer of hope, grace and strength of the Black Venus, The Belle Dancers of the Caribbean, and The Pandemic Dancing Belle. In addition to expanding my own practice, there is also a desire to promote wider advocacy – to inspire others to use their voices and talents to breathe again.
I want young girls to know victory is possible, and hegemonic agendas do not have to dictate their creative potential. This can only be achieved by peeling away fears and insecurities while addressing deep wounds that have characterized the struggle of women of colour, black Caribbean women in a postcolonial, modern, contemporary and now pandemic, era.