Authenticity and intentionality are a necessity for fruitful education experiences with students. By embracing the spirit of an African symbol and proverb “Sankofa” which means to “go back and fetch it,” I started my thesis by collecting oral histories about the generations of black woman educators in my family.
From the newly acquired knowledge, I created a body of work that emphasizes the value of education in black communities. Throughout my family’s history, education was viewed as a means of freedom and opportunity. Education was a viable and tangible source of power within us. This body of work lives as an apparatus, or visual structure of information to guide me through self-actualization as an art educator. My story as an educator cannot be told without the acknowledgment of those in my past.
The visual stories being told are a circular frame of reference as I work every day towards a better understanding of myself as a black woman, educator, and artist. From this process, I am committed to taking advantage of personal narrative and history to inform to provide connections for students, providing a space for questioning and agency over their education, and communicating an example of what art can look like as an everyday practice in students’ lives.