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ACRYLIC ON CANVAS
30" x 24"
Providence, Rhode Island
“I am committed to art as my passion and vocation. Sometimes painting is a prayer or a marker of how I got over an obstacle in my life. This life, this journey, has had a through-line. Through the many calamitous twists and turns of my heroic odyssey, drawing, painting, and writing poetry, have strengthened me when I have encountered challenges that cut my inner world to ribbons.”
Linda King is a 64-year-old African American woman, driven to make art from within and inspired to create from the context of her life. She writes, “I refer to myself as an African American woman and mention my age, 64, because I want to own the ancestral and existing cultural influences that impact my work.” Linda’s artwork is heavily influenced by African American culture, her own experiences, and music such as jazz, celtic, classical, hip-hop and rhythm and blues. She creates both abstract and figurative art, seeking to evoke qualities of movement, gesture, and dance. She is fascinated with exploring and recreating the intricacies present in facial expression.
Linda has overcome many obstacles in her 64 years, which have created a sense of inner strength and resilience that is reflected in her artwork. She writes of her experiences:
“The brunt of violence and alcoholism and the deficiencies of teenage pregnancy caused my parents to divorce. My brothers and sister were split up between relatives. As the only child of a middle-aged aunt who believed children belonged outside or playing in the basement, I learned to play by myself. While she worked long hours doing laundry for middle class white families, I drew pictures in the dirt in front of the church next door.
The pieces began to come together in school when I produced a drawing that a teacher offered me a dollar to make bigger. I didn't care about that. Drawing was my playmate. Years later at the age of 59, during a period of homelessness, I rediscovered my love of drawing and painting, and found the sustenance to embrace my gift.”
Linda began making art through an art program offered at McAuley House, a meal site and program that offers hospitality, social services, and other enrichment programs for people who are homeless. She enjoyed using found objects and creative materials supplied by the weekly Tuesday workshop, to create original works of art. Linda explains that “the encouragement of the staff, art supplies and art shows, helped every one of us to grow.”
Linda has since gained housing through the Housing First program and is overjoyed to finally have an art studio of her own where she continues to develop her art practice. Linda now works in her home studio and also attends art groups regularly at McAuley House as an important part of her community, artistic growth, and support circle.
ArtLifting empowers artists impacted by homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork. Learn more here.