BOCA RATON, Fla. — Artist Vickie Pierre tackles issues of race and social injustice among other complicated topics in her exhibit currently on view at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
This is the artist’s first ever solo museum show. She also created two permanent murals for the museum’s new Sculpture Garden.
One of her pieces, “Black Flowers Blossom (Hanging Tree),” honors the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, who were each killed in events that ignited calls for justice across the country, underscored by demonstrations and protests.
“I realized that I needed to do something that kind of spoke to what had been occurring and my feelings about it, but also do it in this sort of poetic and funerary way,” she said.
Pierre used inspiration from multiple sources, including poetry and music, to dive into the depths of the complexity of emotion. She says it holds layers of grief, sadness, love and memory. She used various sizes of beads and found meaning in not just in the finished piece, but in the act of creating it.
“I feel like doing that process over and over and over again, I have to string many strands of these beads, so I could really sit in it for a while, then install it, make it, and then I can just sort of release it and you know, say God bless,” she said.
There is symbolism in other parts of the piece as well.
“The butterflies represent ascension, they represent life after death, you know, rebirth, and then there are figures at the base of the installation and those figures kind of represent like witnesses. And witnessing history and witnessing what is to come and what is present,” she said.
While the artist is from Brooklyn and lives in Miami, some of the pieces relate to France as being the “mother country” of Haiti, where her parents’ had once lived.
“It’s not my history, and isn’t even really my parents’ history. All of those decorative elements I remember growing up with, the European flourishes, rococo, and Victorian, were not even part of their lives when they were in Haiti. That’s the push and pull of it. It’s a fantasy, but it’s a beautiful lie,” Pierre said in a news release. “Visually, it’s the best eye candy ever.”
The work is on view at the Boca Raton Museum of Art through Sept. 5.
“It’s just an incredible experience and I hope that it will just keep going. I hope that I just keep making great work that’s honest and that’s authentic to myself and to my craft,” Pierre said.