In Walks, A. Man
In Walks A. Man, is a nonlinear narrative that deals with identity, race and acceptance and how it has led to my perception of who I am today.
Part 1 begins with, Twenty on Sugarfoot to Win in the Fourth, an intricate look at my mother Aurelia's past and how I began to understand the effects that race and acceptance played in her life and how, as a young man, I was able to process these revelations.
Part 2, The Benevolent Order of Ephraim Longstocking, looks at self-identity, my place in the world and ultimately, my sacrificing of these founding members beliefs, which has allowed me to step beyond my family’s projected fears. These portraits, done in 'white face,' are a reminder of how I thought I should look in order to succeed based on the underlying values set forth by my mother and grandmother.
Part 3, The Wonderment of Wormley vs. The Secret Addictions of Mrs. Hooper, is my struggle to understand my mother's mental demise and her obsession to find love. I used The Wormley Hotel’s hallways and interior rooms to explore and understand my mother’s life choices, post divorce from my father, and the absence of my father from my life as a child.
Part 4, The Impermanence of Sugarfoot, explores my relationship with my grandmother. She taught me from a very young age how to cook, allowing me to burn myself in order to understand and respect the cooking process. For better or worse, she instilled in me how society would view me as a black man. She was a loving but stern woman, “Sugarfoot” being her verbal release. This release would slip out on occasion, usually as she prepared meals for family or elderly neighbors. It was this giving of herself during meal preparation, which moved me to offer myself as the final meal, in preparation and presentation. The final meal, myself, being the Standing Rib Roast, leaves an enjoyable taste in the mouths of my guests, and no longer trapped in the confines of, A. Man. I now leave this world as Frank Ishman.
Part 5 - Serenity, loosely based on the Serenity Prayer.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
In the middle of this room resides an empty covered space. You enter and leave this space as you entered this world, alone. The wisdom and courage to change the things you can starts and ends with you. Every reincarnation brings you closer to accepting yourself. The walls adorned with my thoughts and beliefs hanging as modern Thangka’s. I leave behind for my next life. It is this legacy I leave as a precaution in the event I'm unable to accept the things I cannot change or have the courage to change the things I can, or embody the wisdom to know the difference. If I fail I am damned to repeat the cycle.