Today I want to take a moment to honor Alma Woodsey Thomas. She was an African American Abstract/Impressionist Artist. She is the biggest influence on my art. She is an inspiration.To find a black woman, who painted abstract art, gives me confidence in myself and my artwork. I put a link to the article in the comment section. Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891-1978).
“Alma Woodsey Thomas developed her signature style — large, abstract paintings filled with dense, irregular patterns of bright colors — in her 70s,” writes the National Museum of Women in the Arts. “Thomas became an important role model for women, African-Americans, and older artists. She was the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and she exhibited her paintings at the White House three times. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/weekinreview/11cotter.html
The great debate on what to call a people sold or captured into slavery has been going on for many years. Mostly, among those that are descendants of slaves and those slaves were descendants of Africa. Call me Black. Call me African American. Well, you are not the color black some say. Well you are not from Africa some say. You are American. And on and on it seems to go. I was once told by a guy from Nigeria that I am not African so I cannot be African American. Everybody has an opinion but, the real issue that bothers me is the fact we have to engage in dialogue about who we are. This is the sad fact for those of us living in America as descendants of a vast country. What is more sad is our inability to adequately trace our roots beyond this continent.
In a group of diverse women on Facebook and many from Africa, I had a conversation with one lady about my age. We were discussing in the group the some of the interactions between Black people/African Americans/Americans. How unfriendly some of those interactions can be or awkward. She said, “I can’t speak for all of Africa but, mostly where I am from we call you cousins. Our cousins in America.” In that group that no longer exists, we learned about all of the similarities we had in common from traditions and proverbs to ideas about slavery and freedom. I learned so much. They shared pictures and we did, too. You really understood just how vast and diverse the countries are in Africa.
Am I black? If you are describing me as the same color as a black crayon then no, I am not black. If you are describing me as Black, a word that has become associated with Black Power, Black and I am Proud, Black Girl Magic, Black Girls Rock, then I am cool with that. Am I American. I am just as much American as the people who are not Native Americans that took this land. Am I African American? My history didn’t start with slavery it started with Kings and Queens. I am African American. I am many.