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Born Free

Crafted before the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, this sculpture expresses frustration over the many young black American males persistently caught in the crib-to-prison pipeline. At first glance, this nursery exudes opulence — the thick mattress on the crib covered in a luxurious fabric, shimmering pink wallpaper, a golden birdcage and a mauve, purple and pink wreath of semiprecious stones and pearls. The beige crib shelters a bird's nest overflowing with eggs. Its protective slats contrast sharply with the bars of the nearby birdcage because, however beautifully designed, a birdcage is intended to confine, to limit freedom. Thus, here, the nest represents a loving home environment, while the birdcage symbolizes the threat of prison. But the door of this particular birdcage has been glued open as a sign of resistance to this cycle. One-of-a-kind.

The wreath hanging above the crib was designed with semiprecious stones (ametrine and quartz), freshwater pearls and Murano glass. Additional materials incorporated in the structure include dollhouse miniatures, acrylic paint, wood, wallpaper, and metal. Inspired by Necklace MU 97.

Framed with museum glass in a sophisticated deep wooden frame in collaboration with Chevy Chase Art Gallery, Washington, DC.

Frame color: Black

Size (in inches): 9.75"H x 16.5"W x 4"D

Ready to hang. Hardware included.

Assemblage silver frame model.jpg


Though many designs appear simple, each work in fact takes several months to create. The final version is rarely the one initially envisioned; the laws of gravity force numerous adjustments. Execution involves a multitude of skills, some of which are acquired specifically to achieve the desired artistic result. In fact, it took several years of experimenting before I even hit upon a technique for creating assemblages. 

The framing process is itself a component of the work, both conceptually and artistically. Though the frame is clean and modern in appearance, the framing process is not as simple as it seems. The determination whether to create a "room" (as with Born Free) or an intimate atmosphere (as with What Price Silence) is in fact part of the artistic process.  

Works are custom framed to provide sufficient depth to accomplish my artistic goals as well as to support the weight of the work (often 40-60 pounds). The 4-inch deep decorative wooden frame curves outward to bring the work closer to the viewer.  

As many designs are supported by the base as well as the backing, the framing process can be tricky. It took several months of experimentation to determine how to create a work that it was practical to frame. The glass protects the work from damaged caused by dust and dusting.

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