I'm just trying to figure out my next steps into getting my record expunged, because I can't really find a job that's going to, you know, trust me… people are not gonna want to hire me with type of you know background. But that's still a problem, because when you get your record expunged, that doesn't expunge it from the system like the judicial system. You know, police might still treat me harsh because they feel like I'm a bad person when they pull my name up. They could feel like they're in danger, or they have to treat me a certain way because this is the type of person I'm portrayed to be.
And that might be for life.
AYA – is a Ghanaian Adinkra symbol meaning Endurance.
Shai Parker is rendered as a Sowei spirit mask used by the Sande Society of Sierra Leon in West Africa. These masks are used “ during rites-of-passage” ceremonies that signify a girl’s transition to adulthood.” These masks are commissioned and performed by the elder women of the Sande society.
The endurance of pain as an element in rites-of-passage is a concept embraced by many cultural traditions. For this sculptural work, culturally enforced female circumcision is conceptually being replaced by incarceration. For all the women who have endured these transformative life events and have “re-entered society” there is an uncelebrated healing journey each woman will not face alone. For me this exhibition has granted me the opportunity to make connects to my role as an artist to the spirit of a Sowei who dances out an acknowledgement of newly gained power through endurance.