As we cross the time-line- millennium there will be an annual honoring of non-violent civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King a recognizable world figure has become a universal symbol of peace, human rights, and non-violent social activism.
TWO KINGS multimedia art tapestry is bridging the American continent to Africa, with the image of mythical West-African King Shango, of Oyo Nigeria. King Shango is considered a spiritual force of nature. Traditional Yoruba of Southwest Nigeria, believed Shango to be the of: fire, thunder, lightning and justice. King Shango ( pronounced: Shong–go ), is often represented with a double ax on his head or as a streak of lighting or clap of thunder. King Shango and non-violent civil rights warrior Martin Luther King Jr., are juxtaposed in the multimedia art tapestry titled: TWO KINGS.
TWO KINGS is a large 12 by 9 foot multimedia art tapestry. The work is executed on a heavy hand-dyed upholstery canvas.
Materials for TWO KINGS the artist collected multimedia art tapestry during travels to: West-Africa, the Caribbean, and South-America; with found objects from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Materials used to construct TWO KINGS are: hand -dyed canvas, African textile, quilting, raffia fiber, appliquéd sewing, assemblage, mirrors, sequins, leather, African-cowry shells, sea shells, brass cast bells and found objects.
The perimeter of TWO KINGS is bordered by African-American quilted symbols used by quilters in the Underground Slave Railroad; which were coded to tell slaves when, what, how, and where to escape. There are also African quilted, and appliquéd designs. The panel is divided by an appliquéd-quilted saw-tooth pattern called a ” lappet. ”
Left side: Large images of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To the side of the image of Dr. King are ( 3 ) three famous inspirational sayings/or quotes used by Martin Luther King Jr. Beneath King’s image is the ” Dove of Peace, ” and an African- American bas-relief quilted doll.
Right side: King Shango/ Oba Shango as he is traditionally called; is a legendary figure revered by traditional Yoruba, and some African- Americans, some Caribbean people, and in Brazil, South-America.
Below the image of King Shango is his sacred ” Bata ” drum.
Below the proverbs is an African styled female doll clothed in elaborate African textile and ornaments.
Two Doll Figures: on the bottom right and left of the work. The doll imagery follows the Congo proverb; ” Only the female body is strong enough to support a Society. ” The dolls are also meant to lure young people and adult’s viewers, and show off the artist’s ability to quilt in bas-relief. The two doll heads at the middle- top of the work, and middle bottom of TWO KINGS are twins. In the folklore about King Shango, he is the protector of all twins. Among the traditional Yoruba people of Nigeria the twins are called: Ibeji ( pronounced: E-bay-gee ). Twins are thought to be very lucky by the traditional Yoruba people. TWO KINGS juxtaposes civil rights icon Martin Luther King, with-African mythical King Shango.
As the new TODD WEHR METCAFE PARK building will serve a dual community use; TWO KINGS multimedia art tapestry has a dual ( visual ) concept.
TWO KINGS art mixed media tapestry may be viewed FREE during Community Center and school hours.
comments by artist: Gerald Duane Coleman