alisha b. wormsley
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For Black Boys Who Are Too Curious



"This work is inspired by my experience with my nephew and godson who are Autistic. It began with my nephew, who has one of the most artistic and beautiful ways of seeing the world. When he was very young I spent a lot of time with him in wonder of the worlds he resided in. I watched, related and envied his ability to stay in them even when required not to. The positive and negative effects it had on him and my family.  When he was little I read Curious George to him, one of my favorite childhood characters. Revisiting Curious George, I saw the very obvious connections to imperial and colonialism. This idea of taking George out of the jungle and bringing him to America so he can be civilized. And his impetuous "savage" nature gets him both in trouble and makes him a marvel. I found the same to be true with my nephew and godson. I began playing around with all the imaginary worlds they fit into."

Confusing Nostalgia

In this series of work, Alisha Wormsley uses theories of collage to create modern imagery that fuses both folklore tradition and popular culture. Each image (and its title) toys with cultural nostalgia, layering inner and outer realities to construct a story examining issues of gender, class, race and time. By creating one image through a collage making process, Wormsley provides the viewer with disparate images. This disparity requires the viewer to reinterpret the subjects, objects and their implied symbolism. Wormsley’s process begins with a black “canvas.” Then she finds subjects and cloths them, using vibrant colors or blacks and whites, leveraging tonality as a variable in the story-telling. Often the subjects wear clothes that hint at a specific era or culture that may or may not suit the model or settings to further disorient the viewer and set the framework for each story. The backdrop and props are selected to enhance composition as well as to challenge the viewer’s perceptions. Often the result is an eerie quality amidst a beautiful aesthetic meant to challenge the viewer’s assumptions about what is truth and what is photo-fiction...