She Blinded Them With Science | Andera Tosten

Artist Statement:

She Blinded Them With Science continues my body of work using text and pattern to explore social constructs, binary thinking, and the nature of existence. My works on paper incorporate the processes of hand-lettering, drawing, origami and the zoetrope. Working with a minimal amount of materials is important to me to convey a silent strength with a sense of the ephemeral nature of each moment in reflection upon a prominent figure of my culture, Queen Nanny, leader of the Windward Jamaican Maroons, who was almost erased from history.

In my research of Queen Nanny, four words stood out for me: ohemmaa (means queen mother in Kromanti (the language of the Jamaican and Surinamese Maroons heavily influenced by Twi (the language of Ghana)), xaymaca (means land of wood and water in Arawakan (the language of the indigenous people of South America and the Caribbean)), abeng (means horn in Kromanti), and gumbay (means drum in Kromanti).  Nanny was an obeah woman (a woman who practices traditional African religions) who is portrayed historically as having used her powerful science to protect her people. 

My thoughts and emotions connected with the sounds made by the abeng and the gumbay, my continued study of Queen Nanny, and exploration of my mother’s homeland of Jamaica inform the composition of the work  in this show. The video included in the exhibition (with music by Dashon Moore and edited by Ciara Elle Bryant) features sounds by the abeng and gumbay and distorted footage from Moore Town (formally Nanny Town) that I filmed during a trip to Jamaica at the end of May this year (2022).

Abeng the Gumbay (Video: Andrea Tosten)

She Blinded Them With Science is my sixth solo exhibition. I often utilize letterforms, paper, and sewing to recontextualize and conceptualize my Catholic upbringing, my background, and where I fit into how history has unfolded.

An opening reception was held Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Click here to see the photo gallery.

Andrea Tosten
Andrea Tosten
Andrea Tosten is a calligrapher and a bookbinder. She has a Bachelor of Science in BioMedical Science from Texas A&M University and a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies from the University of Oklahoma.

Common themes explored through my work are social constructs, binary thinking, and the nature of existence. Influences include Annette Lawrence, Janine Antoni, Tierney Malone and Glenn Ligon.

“I want to be active and present, a part of my community from my perspective as a Black woman. I am often engaged in an open exploration of social constructs, how they affect me, and how I can shift and change them. As a maker, I’m very into technique and love to indulge in perfection. Even as I work towards that perfection in a very technical way, the materials are going to do what they are going to do. Visual conversations between me, community, gender, race and the material form the identity of my work.” -Andrea Tosten

She Blinded Them With Science is free and open to the public Dec. 2, 2022 through Feb. 4, 2023. Click here for more information on our current exhibitions.