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A portrait of a girl sitting at a teacher's desk

How Can You Love What You Don't Know


In the evocative oil painting titled "How Can You Love What You Don't Know," the artist masterfully captures a moment of profound teaching and learning. The central figure, a black female teacher, serves as the embodiment of wisdom and knowledge. Seated regally behind her desk, she is surrounded by books that reflect her rich heritage, with a prominent book titled "Africa" in front of her. Through her watchful eyes, magnified slightly by her eyeglasses, one can sense her determination to impart an essential lesson to her students - the significance of understanding one’s history to truly know oneself.


The classroom setting is adorned with African masks and artifacts, including a shield and spear, leaning against the chalkboard. These elements not only decorate the space but also serve as tangible connections to a past that is both glorious and painful. The chalkboard itself is a canvas within a canvas, subtly featuring images of Rosa Parks, Emmett Till, and a silhouette mirroring the infamous photograph of the runaway slave, Private Gordon. These illustrations are not merely drawings; they are echoes of the struggles and resilience that have shaped history.


The artist's intention behind this powerful piece is to underscore the vital role that knowledge of one's history plays in self-identity and self-love. The meticulously chosen elements in the painting - from the books and artifacts to the imagery on the chalkboard - collectively highlight the importance of education in bridging the gap between the past and the present. It is a visual representation of the adage that to love oneself and others, one must first understand the roots from which they stem.


This painting is not just a work of art; it is a call to action. It invites viewers to reflect on their understanding of their own heritage and to seek out the stories that have been left untold. The teacher's gaze challenges each of us to consider, "How can you love what you don't know?" making this piece a timeless reminder of the power of knowledge and the endless quest for self-discovery.

  • Additional Information

    24" x 38"

    Limited Edition of 50 Giclees


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