Pieces of a Man (2011) is a tribute to the legendary Romare Bearden, whose work and vision became the cornerstone for The Studio Museum of Harlem. It was Bearden’s collage The Dove (1964) from which I drew inspiration. Seeing how he amassed an assortment of images to create a visual narrative further guided me in gathering images that both told a story and reflected on my personal story and experience. The photographs in this piece represent various aspects of the African-American experience, primarily in New York.
The title for the work came from Gil Scott Heron’s debut album Pieces of a Man (1971), a thought-provoking album that addressed a wide range of sociopolitical issues in the African-American community during the early 1970s. Bearden often used jazz as a soundtrack to his creations. For me the perfect blend was a combination of jazz, hip-hop and Heron’s distinctive music.
It is my hope that one day I will be qualified to mirror Bearden’s commitment to documenting African-American history and culture, and to inspire and support emerging young artists.