Ifé Franklin is the Raw Truth. End of the story; yet, the beginning of HerStory as well. It is one she has been telling and living for 25 years as a professional artist and community activist.
Ifé developed her Aso Adire skills by way of Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts course, “The Art of Africa” in the late 1980’s. It is there where she met her mentor, Master Adire Artist Mr. Stanley Pinckney. Ife continues to create and teach others Adire (traditional West African resist and dying techniques) and owns and operates IféArt® which produces sculpture, installations, drawing, collage, photography, and fiber arts.
Ifé often works collaboratively with other social justice organizations and artists. She believes it is her destiny to create and use her voice to convey her passion for the arts and her love for freedom, peace and justice. She states, “Over the years I received many awards for my work. Yet the one I hold most dear is The Pat Parker Award I received for speaking out against homophobia here in Boston.”
I have experienced Ifé’s work through The Indigo Project (http://www.ifearts.com/-/indigo-project). The Indigo Project is Ifé’s “vision to create a project that honors the lives and history of formerly enslaved Africans/African Americans in the American South, who labored in the harshest conditions to produce indigo and cotton materials.” The Indigo Project “provided a historical, artistic and cultural context about the lives of the enslaved.”
“IféArt® is my labor of love. IféArt® is all that I am. I live art. I breath Art. I am the Art. I now accept this. I create because I am ‘called’ to do so. I am a ‘creative.’ I am honored. I am humbled. I am ready to kick some ass.” The Underground Garden this week is dedicated to helping Ifé kick that ass!
Ifé’s next project, “The Slave Narrative Of Willie Mae,” are written in the voice of Ifé’s great-grandmother, Willie Mae McCain, who was born in Virginia on the threshold of emancipation. They chronicle the life of Willie Mae from enslavement to her freedom. The narratives have been performed at a number of venues in the Boston area, including the University of Massachusetts, Boston’s Harbor Gallery, and most recently, Franklin Park, where the narratives were performed outside as originally intended.
Currently the narratives are being edited and are more than half-way completed. Ifé has set up this donation page through which funds collected will “allow [her] to self-publish and distribute the narratives as part of the Ife Franklin Indigo Project installation. The funds would go toward the publication of The Slave Narratives of Willie Mae. The Narratives are integral to [her] work and to the entire instillation.”
I, along with many others, truly believe in the vision and messages Ifé Franklin conveys, the homages she pays and the healing dialogue her work encourages. Ifé Franklin is the Raw Truth.
I invite you to visit Ifé’s website and the IféArt® Facebook page for a full view of Ifé’s prior work. I almost submitted 10 pictures for this article! Her pieces are for the Taking In. Should you wish to contact Ife directly, she’s here!
“I couldn’t do it without you. Peace and Love, Ifé”
Here’s to helping The Slave Narrative of Willie Mae go into print as we continue to witness this Journey. We Love You Ifé. Thank you for your Work!
Liza Zayas is a lover of writing and dancing and celebrates both as a singer and songwriter performing as Luna del Flor. You can hear her collaborative sounds and experience life through her storytelling. She invites you to dance. Her poetry seeks to initiate dialogue by intentionally expressing consequences of love, lust, ego and self-respect