For over 25 years I have been painting and pictorially documenting African-American culture, and using art as an instrument of preserving our culture. I’ve challenged folks to look behind the art that is created and value the artist. As an artist we speak to you politically, socially, academically, spiritually, historically and add economic value. There’s another generation of great artists, not just a handful, living in our communities and doing goodwill, they are making positive historical contributions, building a continued legacy of greatness, preserving our culture and humanity. So often I am reminded how certain sects in our own community seem to be very critical and not supportive of the artists’ efforts. It feels and seems that our artistic roles have been minimized. We should be celebrating our cultural treasures to its full potential. Art is a cultural assets, contemporary African American artists our vital, organic beings built for the creative purpose, full of hope and optimism, it is who we are. Lets rediscover, acknowledge and do a better job of celebrating this artistic resource. History has shown us that art is of extreme importance. It is the first language, a language recognized universally.
At this time, I see or read very little scholarly articles or critical essays on the contributions of this vastly talented group of contemporary African-American artists. There’s a proactive responsibility in our community, individually and collectively to nurture, protect and leverage our cultural artistic treasures. In the ensuing months I will do my part by putting down the brush and picking up the pen and continue advocating our artistic importance.
If you want to have purpose and make constructive change you have to identify first with who you are, your culture is important, it is you, art preserves your culture, protect it, nurture it.
Ted T. Ellis