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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rochleigh Z. Wholfe awarded first place in Transforming Identity

Badc's Rochleigh Z. Wholfe was awarded first place in Transforming Identity, the Women's Caucus for the Arts, Annual Regional Juried Show. The show presented at the Third Floor Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri was juried by Evelyn Astegno from Venice, Italy and runs from December 1-31, 2006.

The prize winning image " The Transformation of Delia: A Slave Girl"

Artist Statement
My artwork is a catalyst for personal, social and spiritual transformation. The intent is to invoke critical thinking regarding the subject matter. The creative expressions are birthed from deep-rooted social, cultural, spiritual, and personal experiences. Each artistic venue teaches me lessons in respect, love, integrity, courage and holding power for myself and for silent voices. Every new work is a sacred magical seed, a meditation that sprouts in the minds of those receptive to its message.

I am both a visual and performance artist. I am a griot, telling the stories of the challenges and triumphs of the human spirit, especially the spirit of women. When I work with paints, colored pencils, textiles, gourds and found objects, I am transported to a realm where I create from soul knowledge and heart wisdom. My spirit guides me to create that which I need to birth for myself and for others. My motto is, I offer the gifts of my hands and talents on the altar of human service.

The Transformation of Delia
The Transformation of Delia is telling a story about healing, victory, and courage. A story of a broken woman who moved from powerlessness to regality, beauty and empowerment. Through the strength, blessings, love and power of the Ancestors she overcame. I used canvas sheets to paint her before and after images. Then I surrounded both paintings of her with antique ritual Kuba Cloth (Cloth was actually used in rituals of Shoowa Tribal Women). Nigerian woven panels and mud cloth was used to frame the images and give a nice contrast. Purple tie-dye (20 Yrs old) was added to show regality and high spiritual meaning. Antique clay beads (1000-10,000 years old) from an excavation in Mali are strategically sewn around the top of each image. Cowry shells, dragonflies, crystals and feathers are used to represent the support of the natural elements to assist in her healing. The figure in the center is the spirit of the ancestor who performed the healing ritual. There are many other hidden meanings in the piece that I leave to the observer to discover.

From the Juror

The opening was very nice and everybody complimented the setting and the high quality of the artwork. It was pretty difficult to chose the 5 winners, but I had to decide... at the end somebody even asked me to judge again... I tried to choose some pieces that had both aesthetical and conceptual qualities. Compliments to you! It was a pleasure giving you the first prize. As I told you, with the virtual eyes of a "juror", not artist (who might see and be inspired also by unexpected and personal details and impressions, they don't need to be the highest quality) I tried to give priority to some artworks with a strong concept and a good aesthetical quality, more or less, at the same time. Some other artworks had an interesting concept basically, but in my opinion could have been developed a little more or lacked some "cure" in crafting, some others looked very good but had a vague concept. Your piece is strong at any level in my opinion. From the composition and the crafting, to the cultural-historical meaning that appear spontaneously, to the artistic references.

Evelyn Astegno

For more on Rochleigh see:

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