Charmaine Minniefield draws from personal experiences to visually celebrate the power of women as BLACK ANGELS. Firmly rooted in womanist social theory and ancestral veneration, BLACK ANGELS is a profound reclamation of the celestial nature of Black women, which thoughtfully evokes the indigenous African roots of matriarchal centered spiritual traditions found throughout the Diaspora. Within a circular setting to recreate the Ring Shout, the work is an ode to this early traditional African-American worship practice with origins from African ritual and ceremony. From the ancestral to the contemporary, Minniefield takes the viewer into the prayer circle by examining the feminine body as a vessel; considering her physical form as sacred, her spiritual as Ase' (Power), her movement as prayer, and her agency as resistance. An inner circle of images - all contemporary bodies in prayer - vacillates between spirit spaces and the physical with an outer circle of the ancestors in witness. The installation is a reminder of worship spaces once women-led and circular, before steepled churches and pulpits. Minniefield offers a glimpse into the work of "egbe", or the secret society of women who conjure freedom.
This work is informed by history. By collecting the stories of my family and of communities, I've been able to reclaim lost narratives and remake the stories of the past into timely statements for today. I've recently discover technology. I am now able to remake these historical images and my paintings inspired by them into very different narratives. Now, I am bringing the stories of a newly freed African-American heroins into the present and even the future - all through technology. It's a new journey all together.
Newly emancipated women as sacred symbols of freedom through a series of "shrine paintings" of monumental scale. This visual series of works on canvas, fabric and paper celebrate feminine strength and leadership from post-emancipation to after the turn of the century. These "ancestral" images capture the determination of a people committed to forging their place within a newly forming society and recognizes the achievement and strength of a people, most recently affected by slavery, who somehow created a place for themselves within a shifting American landscape.
In the African indigenous tradition of Ifa, Osun is the patron Orisa (angle) of love and beauty. The Ifa tradition is sacred to the Yoruba people of West African, the region and cultural group from which most descendents of the slave trades resulting in the African Diaspora came.
Osun is the Orisa that teaches us about the strength and beauty of women, the mysterious power of the mothers and the healing salve of love. This body of work seeks to remind us of our interconnectedness through all women who share this common power - from past to present to future, touching every point of the Diaspora and the world, "we give due respect ot Osun, our Mother, who is always present" (from the Yoruba proverb, Ose Otura)
With my public artwork, I am intentional about the work speaking to the culture and history of the community in which it resides. I am very interested in the issue of gentrification. To push back against this systematic erasure, my work reminds the public the original identity of the changing community before it's lost all together.