4.13.2009

From 20 and Odd to One, From 1619 to 2009, From Jamestown to Washington

When I saw this Call for Artists, I knew I needed to participate. I am probably as avid a genealogist as I am an artist; they both require collecting lots of stuff and retaining many details.

More Black Art has an upcoming exhibit entitled, "Dawning of a New Day," with the requirements being that submitters are of African descent. Perhaps I do not look African, but I am very proud of my African ancestors. They were pirate's booty captured in or near Angola in 1619 brought in two shiploads to Jamestown. They are credited with saving the struggling colony.

My ancestry is through the Gowen (Gowan, Goin, Goings, etc) family and in 1641 Michael Gowen is considered to be one of the first freed slaves in Virginia. (Updated article: http://the-melungeons.blogspot.com/2012/09/pre-contact-dna.html )Eight generations later, Ann "Nancy" Gowen married John Easley, later a Lieutenant in the Revolution, my patriot through whom I joined National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Here I am, eight generations after that. The Gowen family is near to my heart.

My concept piece for "Dawning of a New Day" shows the transformation of a Jamestown building into the most famous residence in the land, linking the 20 and odd number of Africans in 1619 to the current African immigrant blood in the White House in 2009. It demonstrates the industry and determination of a people working over hundreds of years to succeed and to propel that prosperity into the future.
Soft Pastel with acrylic underpainting and prepared pumice surface on foamboard
16x20

1 comment:

Bennett said...

Excellent story and great pastel. Thanks for sharing.