June On Display
In Style TV


Clymenza Hawkins works primarily in the mediums of water color and paper, the figures
she creates draws the viewer into a surreal, mythical world.

Her techniques of collage and photomontage catapulted her into a series of works on paper The Chrysalis Collection, featuring photomontage images of women of color with butterfly wings.

Photo: Peterson Grosvenor

" The Chrysalis honors the transformation of a butterfly which reflects the beauty of a womanís spirit, a celestial survivor from obstacles in life yet achieving her goals, emerging in wisdom and strength."

Hawkins acknowledges the style of collage and visual inspiration from such artists as Romare Bearden, Faith Ringgold, Jabolo, Emma Amos and Gordon Parks (?Arias?).

Since the Seventies Iíve always been attracted to the style of Harlem, past and present, its culture, the folks, the architecture. I walk through the neighborhoods exploring rows of brownstones, pillared buildings with the title of a court, like Winslow. Even the ones in decay stand in regal charisma, whose walls have layers of stories to tell.

Photographing these buildings have led to the ìHARLEM COURT SERIES.î The characters of the prose are from my collection of short stories ñ HARLEM HAIKU. I present them to you as a proud resident and artist of Harlem. Mythology is our first example of our concern with cultural preservation . Mythology was written by great poets, striving to express themselves with clarity, beauty, and indisputable proof of civilization."

Hawkins, fascinated, even enthralled, with the mythology of ancient Egypt, is no less enthralled with the historical depictions of artists more closer to her time. She admits with unabashed awe, that she has long been inspired by the work of the Harlem Renaissance. So when she learned in 1984, that Aaron Douglas, a premier artist of the era, had painted a mural in the Harlem Y.M.C.A. on 125th Street, she was determined to see it first hand.

ìTHE EVOLUTION OF NEGRO DANCE, a symphony in varying shades of green, depicts several overlapping scenes with silhouetted figures. In the center for example, rings of light emanate from a star-shaped sun, and a man in a top hat holds a woman in a hoop skirt by the waist.

Sadly, the mural which was completed by Aaron Douglas in 1935, has been vastly neglected. The paint has began to flake off so badly in places that the white wall seems to shine through.

Though there has been some discussion over the years regarding its preservation - to date nothing has been done.

Hawkins is on a mission to build interest in the mural?srestoration, attending public forums to raise awareness about the mural and enlisting the help of like minded individuals.

Hawkins tells us that The longer it takes to restore it, the more it ís going to cost.

Clemenza Hawkins has been published in African Voices magazine, in an anthology, Streetlights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experiences by Doris Jean Austin and Martin Simmons (Penguin).

Her works have been featured in The Studio Museum in Harlem, Danny Simmons Corridor Gallery, The Russ Gallery/Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion by the West Harlem Art Fund, UFA Gallery, Hamilton Landmark Galleries and the 1998 June edition of Heart and Soul Magazine.

She was commissioned by Grammy Award winning artist ERYKAH BADU to design her Live CD Cover.

The CHRYSALIS greeting cards are available at Barnes and Noble bookstore Union Square, Manhattan, Sisters Uptown Bookstore in Harlem, New York, at 4W A Circle of Art and Enterprise in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and at Readerís Feast in Hartford, Connecticut.

Photo: Peterson Grosvenor

For further information or to arrange a private viewing