Hearing her songs helps any suffering to surface and her voice reduced the strain that I go through from trying to hold that suffering down. Her songs are moving and offer listeners some consciousness into external political forces against people of color as well as opportunities for an intrinsic dive into our culture, imagination and memory. Nina Simone’s music has helped me sit with my grievances and to know that I’m not alone. Nina Simone is often praised for her strength and depicted as a strong black women or criticized as an angry black woman, however I think that pernicious stereotype is limiting and often results in a conspiracy to silence black women’s disenfranchisement because it gives people imaginative expectations for all black women. There’s an assumption that black women are archetypal characters that will save us and serve emotional needs. I wanted to invest in another narrative when working on this painting and to show vulnerability. To imagine that black women don’t have to walk around all the time constantly defending and explaining our self and feeling condensed. This Nina Simone Artwork was inspired by a spiritual liberation and physical release.
I wanted to despic an interior life that didn’t have to worry about protecting itself. In an act of desperation and catharsis I splattered red, white and black house paint on the canvas when forming this painting and let it freely drip while Nina Simone’s song were playing in the background. The splashes naturally began to form this conflex and more realized figure. Over time I glued found objects to the canvas such as sheet music, clay, string, twigs and wood to form this Nina Simone artwork.
“Cause your mama’s name was lonely, and your daddy’s name was pain. And they called you little sorrow, cus you’ll never love again. You ain’t got no one to hold you. You ain’t got no one to care. if you’d only understand it. Nobody wants you anywhere.” ― Nina Simone