Portrait of my Grandfather, Photography, 16"X 24"Print on Hahnemuhle Rag Paper ~ A part of my life path is to carry my Grandparents with me, as they have carried me. To shine light on my Grandfather’s story, which has at times been dimmed by life’s challenges, prejudices, abuse and obligations but never extinguished. My Grandfather’s resilience, presence, love for his art and his family is inextinguishable.

I question what happens to our elder, black artists, when no one is looking for them? When they aren’t a part of the “collective memory” archived in institutions and museums? What happens to the art of those who didn’t get to practice their art or who struggled to do so? Does that work die with them, or does it find new life in the next generation?

In this way, my Grandfather has been the torch bearer. I pray he receives the recognition he deserves, in the NEAR future while he is here in the physical realm to experience that recognition. I work toward this daily, for him.

16"X 24"Print on Hahnemuhle Rag Paper ~ My Grandfather is currently legally blind in his right eye. At one point, legally blind in both eyes, he began having problems with his eyes in his 20’s. He is currently awaiting his 6th cornea transplant with no promises that his body will accept it. He continues to paint daily and make the most beautiful work.

Portrait of my Grandparents. ~ They met at 13, got married at 18, and have now been together for 61 years.

11"X 17"Print on Hahnemuhle Rag Paper

11"X 17"Print on Hahnemuhle Rag Paper

11"X 17"Print on Hahnemuhle Rag Paper

12"X 18"Print on Hahnemuhle Rag Paper

11"X 17"Print on Hahnemuhle Rag Paper

Mock up of installation of the work with sound dome installation at the African American Museum (Philadelphia) ~ The work was exhibited in an exhibition entitled In "In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity" curated by MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora, from November 2019 - March 2020

Excerpt of sound installation + BTS

Transformation is also a big part of this symbolism. The scarab’s regenerative powers were used in the creation of Heart Scarab Amulets, which were inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead that would aide one in passing the Heart Ceremony, where the heart is weighed against a feather. Your heart had to be lighter than a feather to make transition into the afterlife. In this way, the scarab held the key to lifting trauma and heaviness, and ultimately renewing one’s heart. Shadow Box built by New Standard Frames

I worked with actual scarabs for this series placing them over a handwritten letter to my Grandfather. To me, this symbolism speaks so much to him. He always wears a scarab painted on his hat, which he wears daily. Kemetic symbolism has always resonated with him and shown up in his work, especially the scarab. He has been the torchbearer in our family, re-enlivening our passion for art through his relentless resilience. Even after all the difficulties, being abused and discouraged, he is not weighed down…he continues to create. Shadow Box built by New Standard Frames

My Grandfather, Edward D. Ghee Sr.

My Grandfather standing next to the work at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

Read full article from BmoreArt Print Journal, Issue 08: https://bmoreart.com/2019/11/the-resilient-art-of-edward-ghee-and-his-granddaughter-phylicia-ghee-has-never-been-a-luxury.html

Khepri: I am because You are

“Khepri: I am because You are”
(A series honoring my Grandfather, Ghee)
2019, Various Sizes, Photography, Mixed Media (scarabs, gold ink, handwriting) & Sound

Learn more about my Grandfather: www.GheeTheArtist.com

From the time I was a child, I’ve wanted to tell my Grandfather’s story. He is who I aspired to be like as an artist. I created this series to honor him. His persistence, his passion and his resilience.

I question what happens to our elder, black artists, when no one is looking for them? When they aren’t a part of the “collective memory” archived in institutions and museums? What happens to the art of those who didn’t get to practice their art or who struggled to do so? Does that work die with them, or does it find new life in the next generation?

In this way, my Grandfather has been the torch bearer. The holder of genetic memory. His father’s story demonstrated a history of hoarded traumas, disempowerment and repressed memories of empty promises that never equaled societal acceptance or success; but rather recycled themselves as demeaning behaviors toward a son who unknowingly, but instinctively, carried forth his father’s dreams.

A part of my life path is to carry my Grandparents with me, as they have carried me. To shine light on my Grandfather’s story, which has at times been dimmed by life’s challenges, prejudices, abuse and obligations but never extinguished. My Grandfather’s resilience, presence, love for his art and his family is inextinguishable. My Grandparents, who met at 13 and married at 18 are our unbreakable foundation.

May the world see them, acknowledge him; his art and his story.

For
A series honoring my Grandfather, Ghee
Date
November 2019; African American Museum (Philadelphia) “In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity” curated by Adama Delphine Fawundu & Laylah Amatullah Barrayn (MFON)
URL
gheetheartist.com