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“I’ve always wanted to use the past and make present statements,” says artist and architect LaVerne Wells-Bowie. 

Locked up in her home during quarantine, Wells-Bowie was in the midst of an artistic block. Typically she would be traveling internationally and collecting vernacular art pieces to adorn her studio space. She is moved by textures and three-dimensional work, and typically uses found materials. 

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During the lockdown, she decided to rummage through old boxes of textiles and prints she had at home, searching for inspiration. That’s when she re-discovered her fabric prints of blues singer and Golden Age of Jazz icon, Bessie Smith. She re-imagined these fabrics into cameos and created “Cameo for a Crown Jewel” and “Cameo for a Poor Man’s Blues.” 

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