• Natoya

Ancestral Bloodlines Cloaked in a Dream.

I started this work during a time when I felt the emotional toll of being a black woman. This work is a continuation of "The griot recalled the civil rights movement to the new age negress."



Many people of the black diaspora hold on to traditions and ways of living without inherently knowing where they originated. Some may say, My grandmother used to do this or she would say this. But where did your grandmother learn these things? That's my research as an artist, digging into traditions and finding the origins of simple habits. Usually, this takes me on another path, and I end up in places such as here - DREAMS.



Dreams in Black culture divert from the mainstream western psychology and the Eurocentric paradigm, which suggests a dream is an involuntary sensation that occurs in mind during sleep. In most Caribbean and African cultures, dreams are seen as messages to the dreamer with many symbols that can be deciphered in the waking life. Dreams serve as warnings and as confirmation. They tell of the coming of a new baby or an impending death. It's a way to communicate with dead relatives or figure out what your next steps will be. Many times, things will occur in our society, and someone will proclaim

" I saw it in a dream! I knew it was bound to happen."



In Ancestral Bloodline Cloaked in a Dream, There are two women both are partially in the physical world and also in the spiritual realm. Woman One - Aya has traditional braided hair and is looking off to the side. She has a fern on her shoulder tucked into her blouse. Ferns tells of impending doom, illness, foreboding and deep sadness. The fern is creeping up her neck and caressing her as she gazes out into space.

The Second woman May who is a very young girl her body is facing us the viewers, but her gaze is off to the side. She is wearing a shirt with daisies as a pattern, but the daisies are fragmented, discoloured and picked apart. In dreams, daisies are a sign of purity, innocence, calm if they are intact. May's daisies ultimately give you an opposite meaning. Neither woman is engaging with us directly. It is as if we are witnessing something we are not truly a part of.



In the middle of the work is a rounded disk. The disk signifies the full moon inside the disk is a collage of various indigenous cultures with two voyeuristic vacationers eagerly snapping a photograph. Wrapped around the pole of the disk are yam leaves. Yam is a ground food found in the many African countries and the Caribbean, and It's a starchy root vegetable which much like a potato that grows deep into the earth but send up invasive vines. It's a food that is easy to grow and is quite filling when there is nothing else to eat.



The outer part of the work shows the phases of the moon with West African indigenous groups cut out in various stages of the moon. The moon speaks of feminine mysticisms, intuition, and blood cycles.



Overall, like many dreams this work is a lot to unpack. This work is meant to create conversations around the treatment of black women in society. I wanted to bring awareness to the aggressions against women of colour in general, both overt and covert. And to shed some light lack of mental health resources, and the overall fragility of appearing strong, when there isn't any strength left. We are witnessing a sadness, but we are not engaged in finding a solution. It's all so dreamlike and surreal to the viewer because this isn't their reality.



 © 2020 Natoya  Ellis - Studio  Natoyaista

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Natoya 
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