‘Take Me Away’ featured in Charleston City Paper
By Connelly Hardaway, Charleston City Paper
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
African-American artist Jamea Richmond-Edwards has three sons. When we spoke to her about her upcoming exhibition at The Southern, Take Me Away, she was pumping breast milk for the youngest. “With everything going on with the news … it’s nothing new, but when you’re seeing those images, it really freaks you out,” she says, referencing the deaths of young black men in America. “It’s literal trauma. It’s fear.”
So, she decided to do something about that fear, something she’s been working on since she was a kid growing up in Detroit: she decided to create art. “I wanted to create work to escape from it,” says Richmond-Edwards. “I think it’s good to acknowledge the necessity of self-preservation.”
Take Me Away features a series of images of black women in moments of contemplation, some with their eyes closed, others looking into the distance. Some of the images are mixed media paintings, with pieces of collaged paper adorning the figures, some cut into the delicate almost-triangular shapes of feathers.
In creating these works Richmond-Edwards says that she did get to escape her reality, if only for a few moments. And then she returned to contemplating her role as a black female artist in America. “It’s America the great, right? It’s arguably one of the greatest countries,” says Richmond-Edwards. And yet, she points out, “Slavery is a defining moment. I want to argue that the war on drugs is too.”