About "Stanton Lines"
I had about 5 paintings in my recent group show at the W. Avery Gallery in Seaside, CA. "Stanton Lines" is one of my favorite paintings in the show. This painting was a labor of love.
c. 2006, Princess Simpson Rashid
40 x 40”
Acrylic on Masonite
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I was initially looking for information about how Jacksonville, FL was affected during the period of Reconstruction. During my research, I came across an old photo of Stanton and was inspired by the linear features of the image. It was such an old photo that I could barely make out the faces but it was the overall shapes that excited me.
I was drawn to the lines and the circles. I saw the abstract nature of the underlying design of the photographic image. Therefore, I became interested in doing a somewhat abstract painting based on the information I uncovered about the Stanton School, which is now known as Stanton College Preparatory School.
Stanton has such a rich history. The school was first established after Emancipation in 1868. It was actually named in honor of General Edwin McMasters Stanton. He was President Lincoln’s Secretary of War. There were many setbacks for the school but with the aid of the Freedman’s Bureau, whose mission it was to “provide relief and help freedmen become self-sufficient”, the first school was built.
A group of African Americans from Jacksonville organized the Education Society. This group actually purchased the property on which the Stanton school now resides. Later, led by men such as James Weldon Johnson, Stanton became a school known for educational excellence. Now its one of the top schools in the nation.
While painting “Stanton Lines”, I thought about the fires and poor conditions the first buildings were subject to. I also thought about the first group of young students. It’s difficult to fathom the hardships these people faced just to go to school. I embedded newspaper clipping and various papers that refer to Africa throughout the piece, especially the bottom portion. This is because Africa and African motherhood are the roots of our community. My palette was predominantly greens and blues because the figures in the photo made me think of ghosts and I wanted the painting to have an eerie effect and perhaps a ghostly appeal.
-Princess S. Rashid, 2009
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I also have new products( coffee mugs, mousepads, T-shirts and coasters) featuring this painting. So please check out my Cafepress store. My art on products makes great gifts!