I’m a mixed-media, photo based artist. Using symbolism, I examine the creolization and hybridization of material, spiritual, and cultural traditions of Africans in the diaspora.Through portraiture, I explore how these traditions combined with those of the western world. Family and found objects act as, and are repurposed as artifacts and conduits of personal and cultural memory. Through the use of layering, I explore the complex relationship we have with the western world and our connection as Africans of the Diaspora. Layering of fabrics, textures, materials and images-all speak to this complexity of being a people whose history is intertwined with that of its oppressor.
Common Western symbolic elements of wealth and status are interwoven but repurposed to cause a psychological shift within the pre-existing internal narrative of the viewer. Mirrors and visual magnifiers are used to look back at the past and to also confront the present and future. Embedded cultural materials such as pearls, lace, cotton, bowls, feathers, along with old world artifacts of spiritual practice become a New World means to have some control over the elevation of the Black body, mind and spirit. Feathers in my work for example, are foils for flight and metaphors for intelligence and freedom. The heavy use of pearls, replaces the traditional African cowrie beads used as currency and to anoint status and wealth. European status and wealth are being used literally and symbolically to revisit cultural and ancestral traditions of lavish adornment. Offerings of artifacts were part of ritual means when conjuring and connecting to the spirit and ancestral world. Artifacts are also means of establishing and passing on traditions and status to the next generation. As artifacts, they are used in my work to create a kind of factual fiction. My art is the mirror being used to capture and reflect back the soul of my culture and within the larger society where we exist but are very often not seen.My subjects are the forgotten legacies of value and possibility. I’m not interested in “recreating the past,” but in weaving bonds to past traditions of diasporic practices into the present and future. It is my way of speaking from the past, about the present while imagining a more vivid Black future.The work is meant to be a constant reminder for people of European descent, and specifically my own people, that we are holy on our own.
The children in my works act as the conjurers, welcoming with their innocence and purity, a spirit open to ancestors and a rewriting of their history. Offerings of artifacts were all ritual means of conjuring and connecting to spirit and ancestor, as well as a means of passing on tradition and status in plain sight. I make no attempt to recreate the past, rather to connect to diasporic practice, family history, and the threads that connect us together in the present and the past.
I’m driven to challenge the narrative that descendants of the Diaspora are only resigned to distorted histories of subjugation, suffering and second-class humanity. Despite having most visible signs of their history, status, spiritual and cultural practices erased when they were brought to the Americas, Africans in America endured. My offering to our collective history is to explore the material, cultural and spiritual connections, the imagined status, and our dreamed humanity that is rightfully ours.
2021 Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College Decatur, GA
2021 Marietta Cobb Museum of Georgia
2021 Lyndon House Arts Center, Athens GA
2021 Stella Jones Gallery, New Orleans
2020 Gallery 1202, Gilroy, CA
2020 Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College Decatur, GA
2020 Artfields, exhibition in Lake City, South Carolina
2020 Masur Museum, Monroe LA, curated by Allison Glenn, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art,
2019 “The Function of Freedom” A Dedication to Toni Morrision, Auburn Ave. Research Library, Atlanta GA
2019 APG Hartsfield Jackson International Airport Exhibition,Atlanta GA
2019 The Highrise Show, Atlanta GA
2019 Exhibition: Remembrances Beyond the Veil- Auburn Avenue Research Library on African Culture and History, Atlanta GA
2019 Sinclair Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2018 Photo Buckhead, Atlanta, GA
2018 Zuckerman Museum, Kennesaw, GA
2016 Honoring Morris Brown College Apex Museum, Atlanta GA
2021 Arthur Griffin Legacy Award- Griffin Museum
2020 Top 50 Critical Mass
2019 Virginia Twinam Smith Purchase Award
2008 Funds For Teachers, Photography Residency, Sante Fe, NM and San Francisco, CA
2021 "An Offering" Griffin Museum of Photography
2020 "Our Value> Cotton and Gold" & "Grandmother's Bowl" acquired by The Petrucci Family Foundation
2019 "Our Generation" acquisition of Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
2019 "A Story Unfolds" acquisition of the Fulton County Arts Council
Art-diction Magazine September 2019 Issue
Behind the Shutter Magazine, June 2019 Issue
1995- Book- "The Many Faces of Auburn Avenue", George Mitchell and the Students of Grady High School (Spread of Coretta Scott King)
Atlanta, Ga. based artist, Tokie Rome-Taylor, explores themes of time, spirituality, visibility and identity through the medium of photography. Portraiture, set design, and objects all are a part of Tokie’s photographic practice. She uses digital photography as her foundational medium, while also exploring cyanotype, and embroidery as a means to explore the layered complex relationship African Americans in the diaspora have with the western world.
Rome-Taylor’s series, “Reclamation”, was selected for PhotoLucida Critical Mass top 50. Her work has been featured in What Will You Remember and Feature Shoot Magazine. Additionally, Tokie is a Funds for Teachers Fellowship recipient, studying photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico and in San Francisco, California. Rome-Taylor’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work has been a part of exhibitions at The Griffin Museum of Photography, Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, Stella Jones Gallery, SP-Foto SP-Arte Fair, São Paulo, Brazil, Gallery 1202, the Masur Museum, Zuckerman Museum of Art Lyndon House Art Center and the Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, among others. She is a recipient of the Virginia Twinam Smith Purchase Award, adding her work to the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia as well as the Legacy Award, bestowed by the Griffin Museum of Photography. Her work is held in multiple public and private collections and was recently acquired by the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art.
Rome-Taylor is a 20+ year veteran educator and working artist. She is open to opportunities that relate to artist talks, visiting institutions, residencies and workshops.