Terminal D, ticketed passengers

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Philadelphia artist Makeba Rainey is known for creating dynamic, pattern-filled digital collage portraits of historical and contemporary Black people. Their use of patterns, symbols, and colors visually informs the individual’s unique story. Rainey thoughtfully conceives of artwork specific to the venue where the portraits will be exhibited and to bring awareness about Black communities.

Here, Rainey has created Their Eyes Were Watching God that features portraits of five bird watchers and participants of the In Color Birding Club founded by Jason Hall. The club’s purpose is to “open the world of birding and the outdoors to historically under-represented and BIPOC communities in the Philadelphia area. The natural world, and more specifically, the outdoor resources in the Greater Philadelphia area, should be accessible and inspiring to ALL of its residents, while breaking free from systemic policies that created limitations to these spaces for Black and Brown folk.”

Rainey said, “This installation is representative of my signature digital collage style, outfitting the subject’s and their surroundings in African Wax Cloth and incorporating isolated textile elements such as the `halo,’”—a popular wax cloth design known in Ghana as Nsu Bura meaning “water well” that alludes to the ripple effect. “I generally use these patterns as a bridge connecting Black people everywhere to the continent; no matter where in the world we are born, we are still African and that spirit, that energy cannot be severed.”

About Their Eyes Were Watching God, “When we are in Nature, observing it, drinking it in, really grounding ourselves in it, we are communing with our ancestors; with Spirit: the intermediaries between our physical selves and God.”

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