This series, Rituals of Water, deals with the element of water and the significance and impact of water on African Americans: the Transatlantic slave trade, the U.S. Civil Rights movement, and (future work in the series) Katrina.

 

Transition, uses images of former slaves. Each composition is accompanied with text that refers to other commodities involved in the trade. For example For Sugar = rum that was made from the sugar that slaves cut and processed, For Arms = guns and ammunition that were traded for slaves and rum, and For Souls = the slaves who were captured and traded to fuel the slave trade industry. 


Dry Season addresses how water was used in an attempt to disperse civil rights demonstrators in the South, using images based on the photographs of Charles Moore. As with the pieces from the Transatlantic slavery section, the images are fluid as if the figures are composed of water, or being washed away by it.  Each one of the images in this section features text that describes certain physical aspects of water such as, “surface tension,” “evaporation,” and “universal solvent.” The text is not meant as a title, but as a device to extend the narrative and to create comparisons and contrasts as to how water was used in this instance. Coinciding with the U.S. Civil Rights movement, in South Africa, where Blacks resisted oppression under apartheid, South African police used water canons to disperse protesters, dyeing the water with purple colorant, in what was termed 'Purple Rain.'

All the paintings in Rituals of Water are composed of ink, water, and salt to create a sense of the figures being simultaneously at one and in opposition with water.
Each painting measures 60" x 40" on paper.

Rituals of Water 

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© 2019 Rodney Ewing

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