Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Kanouse, Sarah

First Committee Member

Jung, Anita

Second Committee Member

Williams, Rachel

Third Committee Member

White, Susan


Sankofa, a proverb from the Akan language of Ghana, is one attribute of Ghanaian culture that lives on in Black America. Sankofa, symbolically depicted as a bird reaching backwards to scoop an egg, translates into English as "reach back and get it."

As an autobiographical artist, I continue to "reach back" into black history. I research the biographies and autobiographies of other Black Americans--the stories that chronicle the lives of those who came before me. I research urban cultures and contemporary expressions of identity and courage. Through the creation of installation and performance art, I have learned to incorporate this research into my own expressions my visions of hope, discontent, healing and beauty.

Public Abstract

The Black artist’s greatest obstacle is the general misunderstanding of social formalities within Black culture. This is especially true in regards to artwork created in disregard to western aesthetics. Defining self from a historical and cultural perspective has granted clearer direction, and a sense of self, for my current path of life. Black culture/society speaking on its own behalf – defining self – affords the space for proper integration and understanding, essential components to an inclusive society. My artistic practices consist of articulating the visual influence of and on Black culture in contemporary society. I use contemporary art practices to contribute to the narrative of a history that is, at once, both Black and American. Principally honoring the Black American perspective through provocative reconfigurations of urban life I transform language, traditions and cultural impressions into dynamic works of art. More times than not the civility of a culture is propagated by its arts. Art, language and ritual are junctions of identification and cultural expressions for many. Art is my method of self-¬identification. I create soundscapes, video art and objects to reveal the beauties of the Black Diaspora to converse with the global community.


publicabstract, Art, Black, Black American, Intermedia, Painting, Performance


vi, 20 pages


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Copyright © 2015 LaMar Barber

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