Exhibition Dates: OCTOBER 11 - NOVEMBER 17
GALLERY RECEPTION: October 29 from 6:30 - 8:30p
“He Loves Me Not” started as a series of random poetic sayings I’d drop when my mind started to wonder what proper love felt like. After four years, I finally realized that those quotes were never about anyone else, but more-so about self love. Within the black community, many of us suffer from PTSD, depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts/behaviors so bad we question our self-worth.
This body of work challenges the thoughts our oppressors have instilled in us, effects of pop culture, and even self-preservation. The head sculptures are inspired by slave masks. Slave owners would chain metal masks to our faces, preventing us from committing suicide to escape our circumstances. Although slavery has been abolished, we are still trying to escape current dilemmas with drugs, alcohol, toxic relationships, and even food that result in our demise.
This series of head sculptures is dedicated to one of the most misunderstood groups of people: black men. Rather than shackling metal to their faces, I’ve carefully constructed masks encrusted in semi-precious stones that possess healing properties. One by one, the “seeds” were “sown” not only to protect black men, but to adorn and value them. This is my acknowledgment that it is time to heal wounds within the black community so we can finally say “he loves me” with surety and confidence.
Lakea Shepard is a mixed media designer, sculptor, and milliner based out of Winston-Salem. Lakea studied Visual Arts (UNC School of the Arts) and received her BFA in Crafts with a focus in Fibers (College for Creative Studies) in 2013. She also attended New York Studio Residency in DUMBO, NYC. Being raised by a mechanic and textile worker birthed Lakea’s passion for designing “head-sculptures” using traditional African textile techniques including beading, weaving, and basketry. Her work is submerged in symbolic universal objects speaking to obstacles within Black America. Each sculpture is signed with red thread symbolizing vitality and womanhood. Lakea’s work is known in many galleries, which recently include the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Learn more at www.LakeaShepard.com.