21st Century Nkisi
acrylic on japanoise silk panels
104 x 12 in.
As a very young child, many things fascinated me…the expansive rolls and hills of my mother the consummate school teacher’s cursive, the way my father constructed the double “H” of his name, the elaborate stories told by my grandfather Jim of a proud and resilient family from a proud and resilient race. On occassion, inside the pages of Life or Look or Ebony, I’d catch sight of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie. I found as much beauty in his slender hands and huge eyes as in anything else I’d ever seen. The Latin of Mass, the incense, and the icons ever present in our parish church, were things of awe and wonder.
My connection and fascination with the mysteries of the formation of letters, the mysteries of the formation of groups of letters to form words, to form ideas to move the heart, the mystery of the sacred, and the mysteries of a land called Ethiopia, came to me at a very early age.
By ten, my grandfather did his leave-taking, Selassie was deposed and I took on the mantle of family historian/storyteller. Histories and dictionaries became important to me. I read for fun, wrote for practice, drew for need. Words, beauty, form, a sense of honor, a respect for the sacred, and a world once was, guided me, formed me, created the pylons to my temple of artist, of woman.
© Candace Hunter