Machete for Gregory
Melvin Edwards ( American, 1937 )
During a particular moment in American history, African American artists such as Melvin Edwards voiced their own experience of the civil rights movement through art. Edwards has said, “As the civil rights movement advanced, sculpture started to take over when, in response to the events of the time, I began to feel that I had ideas that seemed to have no possible place in the painting I was doing.” Machete for Gregory becomes an abrasive reminder of the historical racial tension and implicit violence in the United States. The machete, an instrument used for survival but also by African slaves in the harvesting of plantation crops, is prominent. In dedicating the work to his brother Gregory, Edwards references the struggles one may encounter in life and the tools needed to protect oneself. The machete is transformed from a symbol of oppression into a symbol of emancipation.
- Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 238.