MAKE video series features Atlanta printmaker and artist Tina Dunkley

MAKE video series features Atlanta printmaker and artist Tina Dunkley


Tina Dunkley: My name is Tina Dunkley, and
I’m here at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio. It’s an oasis, within the city of Atlanta
where, an artist can come to explore the printmaking medium. I was born in NYC and I’ve always been an
artist, as a result of being in a family that makes things, they made things all the time. My mother was a seamstress and cosmetologist,
my aunt sewed for Christian Dior. I went to school for a Masters in African
American studies, with clear interest in the African Diaspora, relating to the people of
African descent that were exported as human cargo to the western world. The theme of my current work, The Internal
Enemy, or Sanctuary for the Internal Enemy, began as a result of a discovery that I made,
upon making a trip to Trinidad. While I knew that my grandparents came to
this country, what I found out, was that, their ancestor’s were actually enslaved
in Virginia, and during the War of 1812, after the British issued a proclamation to all of
the enslaved African Americans, that they would receive them and give them freedom,
my progeny’s took advantage of that offer. I’ll start with the melon because, I had
a vision, and it was really coming up out of my sleep, relative to the watermelon, the
fact that it came out of the Kalahari Desert. I just thought of it as being the seeds of
capitalism. Free labor. Blessed is the fruit of free labor. That’s what those seeds represent. And if anyone had the right to eat watermelon
and enjoy it, we do. So this piece which initially began as a melon,
there are now one, two, three, four, five, six layers to this and presently, the net
is the first layer, then this sea foam, which is around this area, sort of menacing sea
foam, as the second layer, and then there’s a third layer of the melon, the base of the
melon, that darker green, then there is a forth layer of a lighter green to imply the
stripes that texture that you’d normally see on the watermelon, and then of course
the cut into the watermelon, followed by the seeds. And those seeds, I laid them out on a sheet
and then Xeroxed them into this formation. I think that I would very much like to hope
that people understand how much information we are missing at all point in time, in our
lives. I hope that people are so moved to look at
their own stories of their own families. I am Tina Maria Dunkley, and I have really
no other choice in my life, except to make art.

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