Well, my time as the artist-in-residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland has now drawn to its close. I am grateful to the Director of the residency, Professor Sue Johnson and the chair of the African American & African Diaspora program, Dr. Jeffery Coleman for sponsoring my visit. Getting to know several of the students and their colleagues remains an important part of my overall experience at the Artist House.
The Symposium – ‘From Invisibility to Remembrance: Commemorating Slavery at St. Mary’s and Beyond.’
Enriching my time at St. Mary’s College of Maryland were so many memorable moments spent with fellow residents, students, and staff members at the College. One such memory is of a rather special event that I was invited to by Dr. Coleman. The event was the symposium, ‘From Invisibility to Remembrance: Commemorating Slavery at St. Mary’s and Beyond.’ The keynote speaker for the symposium was the Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.
Featured in the 1st photograph: Howard University professor, Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves & President of St. Mary’s College, Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan; Middle image is the poster of the event; 3rd image is me standing with the Prime Minister
I was also fortunate enough to meet and speak with the President of St. Mary’s College, Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan as well as Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of history at Howard University. Dr. Araujo is author of the book, “Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History”.
Words to Live By
“There are times when we travel to certain places for a particular reason and experience. There are other times when we travel to a particular destination only to discover that the main reason we are called to that place is actually for an entirely different reason & experience. I believe for you, this is one of those times.” In conversation with Sonya Chisholm, September 2019
The quote above is from a discussion that I had with my friend Sonya. She & I were sitting in a bookstore having coffee. I had just completed another 48 hour concept driven art related marathon, and I was exhausted by my own whirlwind of activity. At the end of my whirlwind, I began to question everything—from the direction that my creative muses were taking me to my purpose there as an artist-in-residence.
Ok, much of that was brought on by sleep deprivation, this said, some of it must have emerged from my own mutterings about my purpose. Yes, I know that we all have these moments of crisis, but at the time what I was moving through was extremely tangible and kept resurfacing, so it was a good thing that I had a rather wise friend to talk to about what was on my mind.
Even now, these particular words continue to resonate with me. My experiences at the Artist House truly informed the next steps of my creative directions. This is a good thing since many of my ideas have sat on the back burner for almost a decade. Giving birth, even to an idea, is never easy. Anyway, my time there at the Artist House, allowed me to seek out new ways to approach the development of my artistic expression.
The rural stillness of the space allowed me to quiet my mind and focus my energies on what I now need to do as an artist—search out unconventional and unique ways to approach my creative expression. Hours that I spent focusing on my artistic vision allowed me to solidify several ideas that needed development.
Sketch books filled with drawings, sketches, writings, and others such stuff are my reward. Since this is the case, I know that these nuggets of inspiration will serve me well as I move forward.
– Dorotha Grace Lemeh, October 2019