by Taylor Kilgore

Artist Alfred Conteh visited his exhibit in the University of West Georgia’s Bobick Gallery to discuss his materials and ideology behind Bitter Medicines, Sweet Poisons. Alfred is an Atlanta artist who grew up in Fort Valley, Georgia and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Hampton University. Alfred received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Georgia Southern University in 2004.

Alfred stated that his design elements were inspired by both sides of his family.

“My father’s family were patique cloth makers, and my mother’s family were quilters and bootleggers,” shared Alfred. “I processed these aspects into the works.”

Alfred wanted his sculptures to represent a neighborhood community with houses and churches representative of those he had seen growing up, many of them disheveled. He used materials such as matches, cotton buds, and modeling foam to create sculptures depicting current and historical forefronts in black culture to inspire his community. His talk sought to bring the use of common items to UWG sculpting students’ artwork.

“At the time I was working on these I was seeing Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin on the news,” said Alfred. “I felt like it was time for me to be a bit more direct in the things that I was speaking to and seeing in my work. I wanted to do a series representing the disenfranchisement against the African American community as well as what is going on within the community.”

The Bitter Medicines, Sweet Poisons exhibit will be on display in the Bobick Gallery until July 14.

Video by Somer Dooley and Vick Martin

Posted on July 5, 2016