My handiwork has been featured in the following settings: (1) an exhibition in conjunction with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce symposium "Doing Business in Africa"; (2) "Florida Folklife: Traditional Arts in Contemporary Communities" (a five-city statewide exhibition curated by the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (Miami, FL); (3) an exhibit during a Kwanzaa celebration at the Broward County Main Library (Ft. Lauderdale, FL); (4) a three-month exhibition at Borders Books & Music (Ft. Lauderdale, FL); and (5) included in the permanent collection of the Geechee Kunda Living Museum & Cultural Center (Riceboro, GA). As well, my instruments have been used in live and recorded performances by a number of local and nationally known musicians.
In 1997 I was one of six artists statewide selected to serve as "master artists" (mbira virtuoso Cleodis "Jomo" Faulks being my apprentice) in the Florida Department of State's Folklife/Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program. Additional honors include (1) a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Customs Service (Miami, FL, 1999); (2) a Blue Ribbon award from the Georgia Gourd Society Show (Perry GA, 2009); and (3) an Award of Merit from the Fiesta in the Park Art & Craft Show (Orlando, FL, 2010).
My first exposure to folk musical instruments was during my childhood in Georgia, when I would watch my father and friends making and playing nail-keg drums, kazoos, water-resonatged musical glasses,and such (instruments which I later learned had African antecedents) at weekend gatherings.
Although I soon began making instruments myself, it wasn't until early adulthood that I began actively to craft traditional African instruments, the techniques having been learned through observation and informal study with crafters in the U.S. and abroad.
My handiwork is similar to that of other crafters in the U.S. in that they share the same broad outlines. Mine differs from that of most, however, in that I make every attempt to adhere to traditional dictates and avoid incorporating such innovations as to render the end product unrecognizable as a traditional instrument.