Even through indirect relations to junior Moreau Halliburton, it is easy to tell that her creative practice is grounded in art, activism and identity. Since the abrupt departure from campus in March, Halliburton incorporated these priorities into the projects she worked on.
The idea for Homeland Beading came out of Halliburton’s growing connection to African music and culture, specifically Ghanaian drumming, which she immersed herself in through Kinkaviwo, the African drumming group here at Lawrence. Looking at the first post on her business’s Instagram, the mission statement is clear: “What would America be like if we loved Black people as much as we love Black culture?” The research Halliburton has done is shared throughout her page as a means of highlighting these important cultures. She specifically cites a video on YouTube called, “The Bead Man of Ghana,” which introduces a family legacy of beading, as an inspiration. Much of her interest lies in personal stories of craftspeople who create beads with different meanings through specific processes. These stories worked into her hobby of beading, which she has been doing for five years. She sources beads from Ghana and has promised that 75 percent of her profits will go to Ghanaian organizations that she has been in contact with. The idea is, “More love for Black people in Africa and here.”
In between making various pieces of jewelry and merchandise over the course of the virtual Spring Term and into the summer, Halliburton set up a beading camp for children to pass on her knowledge. She sent out supply kits and met with a group on Zoom for three to four weeks to help them learn the basics. Along with starting these artistic groundworks, Halliburton sought to teach the kids about activism and equality. One of the days at her camp was dedicated to the intersection of the two. She plans on holding other workshops similar to this for both children and adults in the future.
Another of her summer projects was to start a youth coalition with her mom that was focused, once again, on arts and activism. The “Artivists” attending the camp were able to collaborate to create art of several mediums that expressed their belief in equality and love amongst all people.
Halliburton revealed that it is because of her mom that she is so passionate about using art this way. “We would always have late-night talks in the bathroom for some reason,” Halliburton said. “We would just sit on the tub and just talk about diversity stuff, equity, just, what’s happening in my life, what’s happening in her life. So, I definitely have learned from a young age that it’s totally okay to be honest and talk about your feelings, and then use kind of creative avenues to also go about talking about how you feel and how you feel about something that’s happening.” She says that it is through the arts and collaboration that she has learned to meet the needs of others, as well as her own. Halliburton is creating her own major in Music, Education and Diversity Studies to further learn how to help young people have healthy identity development through the arts.