Artist: Harlem artist brings 'Celestial' exhibit to Harmonie Park
Tuloni Rose Gallery shows works consisting of winged black women
By Rhonda Bates-Rudd / The Detroit News
The greeting card featuring Clymenza Hawkins bears images of women with delicate butterfly wings.
If you're a woman who has ever wanted to fly, you may want to consult Harlem-based artist Clymenza Hawkins.
Award-winning vocalist Erykah Badu did.
The artist, whose trademark is women of color donning butterfly wings, fashioned a set of wings for Badu, which appear on the singer's live CD.
Hawkins' exhibit -- Celestial Women -- is the focus of an inaugural exhibit through March 30 at the Tulani Rose Gallery in Harmonie Park.
Gallery owner Sharon Pryor said there is more to Hawkins' use of imagery than physical beauty.
"Her images deal with symbolism of transformation," Pryor said. "Before the butterfly becomes the beautiful thing that it is, it must first be a caterpillar, then it goes into its cocoon, lastly becoming the butterfly.
"I'm drawn to her work because I see myself dealing with that same type of transformation."
The show, which opened Sunday, also will help Hawkins introduce her fledgling greeting card line, the Chrysalis Collection. The cards bear the images of women with delicate butterfly wings, a prelude to a series of soon-to-be-released male images. Hawkins appears on one card in the series as a woman bearing orange butterfly wings.
In one year, her career as artist has taken flight in more ways than one.
Hawkins found her niche as an artist after losing her job as a window display designer for B. Dalton book stores.
She launched her career last November, on her 42nd birthday, coincidently when Badu released her live CD.
"My issues are with women," Hawkins said.
"(The butterfly design) deals with the changed woman, those who have dealt with substance abuse, discrimination, divorce, unemployment ... the obstacles that set us back, but allow us to emerge victoriously."
Tulani Rose Gallery is at 1452 Randolph in Harmonie Park. Exhibit hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. For information, call (313) 963-5977.