The Benediction series conceptualizes the complex character Angel as a large black man who is in various stages of appearing (or becoming). In some instances, the figure is seemingly transfixed by the sight or idea of something that he is witnessing, his body in profile view, with a hand covering his face. In other instances, he is posed with his ear pressed flush with the ground, listening intently for evidence of something that he senses is due to break forth. Between his race, geometric stance, dramatic gesture, and repetitious appearances, I am addressing a number of ideas that are central to this body of artwork.

Angel is a powerful black being, appearing with and without wings, who projects both the beautiful and social and ideological stance of black boys and men. In the repeated palm-to-face gesture, we can decipher prayer, quiet thoughtfulness, deep consideration, or a deliberate pause before a mighty demonstration. However, we may also read anguish, despair, anxiety, perhaps a refusal to really see and acknowledge what is occurring, or even an abject blindness to society’s present conditions altogether. 

This project considers the immediacy of the black man, as a figure of complexity and legacy. It reflects on the inherent connections between trauma, mourning, and regeneration, but frames these ideas in a visual conversation about the powerful beauty of the black male form.