Glyphs of Time :: a blog by jarvis grant

July 16, 2011

Scared Reflections: An Exhibition

Sacred Reflections Announcement
Sacred Reflections at the Driskell Center, University of Maryland

A couple of months ago, I heard a call to artist for the exhibit Sacred Reflection. The theme of this exhibit in the words of its curator Tonya Jordan, “… is inspired by religious and spiritual traditions of the African American community in Prince George’s County (Maryland) and the African Diaspora.” This exhibition features many of the ‘iconic imagery, spiritual verse and biblical references of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Africa’s derived religious practices, and themes metaphysical and esoteric. My works are in that last group, the “metaphysical and esoteric”. While I do believe that the Black Church is an significant element of the African American community, I also believe that the spirituality of an individual transcends the religious dictates of organized religion.

When I saw this call for entry, I thought of several images that I thought would work. Two were already framed and ready to go. These days I’ve got to think of the economics of exhibition photographs. Then there were a couple of images that have been swimming in my head for a while. This call was just the thing to help me flush out them out. Now I usually don’t think in terms of producing work just for a particular exhibit, but since this exhibit was going to be in the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, I felt it was a great opportunity and venue. Now, I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of these photographs. I’m simply going to present them. In the near future I’ll get into pre and post production of how I created them.

What I found of great interest is that over the course of several years I found myself using the same model, Ava Sheffield. Ava is a great model because she gets into the atmosphere of what I want the subject in the photograph to convey. This makes the image more believable, like an actress on stage. The earlier works were 100 Words and An Ocean’s Song. 100 Words was shot for the cover of the book 100 Words of Wisdom, by Niambi Jarvis. The photograph for An Ocean’s Song was from the same shooting session.  The latest work, Sojourner: The Awakened Dream and The Sojourner’s Quest, comes from the idea of the power of dreams. Or more the power that is found within the dreamer.  Normally I need to live with the work before I start thing of titles for it. At first I was thinking about the subject of the images as a sojourner or temporary resident. While this is very true, after the work was up in the exhibit I began thinking more of the locations she was occupying. So, after this exhibition this series of images will go by the theme title of Dream Chambers instead of The Sojourner. Of these four images I submitted, Tonya selected 100 Words and the Sojourner’s Quest. They always choose 100 Words!  My personal favorite from the submissions was, The Awakened Dream. This reminds me of something my friend and mentor Ed Love once told me. “When you give people the opportunity of choice, they’ll always choose the one you don’t want them to!” Oh well.

Sacred Reflections will be on view at the Driskell Center until August 5, 2011. If you are in the Washington, DC metro area, please stop by and experience this wonderful exhibit.