The exploration of what economic value looks like in our own communities is huge. We see grills as a stylistic representation of recentering a narrative around our own aesthetics and beauty value structures.

BANK SERIES vol5-vol8
24”h x 24”w
hand-embellished stretched tapestry.

If you are in the Philadelphia area, we encourage you to check out the show represent currently on display at Paradigm Gallery to see these pieces in person. If you are interested in purchasing these pieces, please click here.

The bank series is a series of art tapestries that depict grillz.

So many of our cultural contributions to society are often ostracized and put down when we take ownership of our own aesthetics. Grillz are a great example of this. Another example of this is the fact that we required a bill to be passed that legally allows people to wear their hair in its natural state. That’s ridiculous. Stop bothering (black) people. We don’t believe that there are man-made laws that govern our existence in the world. We are here. There are so many things that we culturally contribute to society that are demonized and villanized when we participate in them, but are celebrated when they are culturally appropriated. That speaks to a lot of issues of visibility that we have in society.

Grills speak to a particular value structure and bucking of respectability politics. The history of America is not kind when it comes to banks and financial institutions in relationship to black people, examples of this can be seen in redlining, the Tulsa massacre and discriminatory laws put into place after the reconstruction period And overall income inequality. Many aesthetic values are created out of being ostracized from mainstream society, but they are also examples of expression, practices and aesthetics that have been incredibly preserved.

That’s the part that we focus on. We are very mindful not to be responsive to discriminatory practice. To put it quite simply, haters are going to hate. Colonial practice are alive and we aren’t interested in fixing broken people. We are interested in the growth of ourselves and our community. We are interested in our relationship to the environments that we exist in.
We feel that by glorifying and shining light on nuances of culture is important as it is proof of existence, can serves as validation and encourages everyone to look at these aesthetics and perhaps these see them in a wider gamut.