IMG 3926

Freedom, 2021
acrylic on wood

“I have a small connection to the Wampanoag people through my grandfather Lewis Tripp. I have been learning Wampanoag history, culture and patterns. For this eagle I combined Joan Tavares Avant’s beautiful beaded headband and geometric dress worn by Anna Handy Fontes circa 1900.” – Bascom

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Joan Tavares Avant, Director of Indian Education in the Mashpee Public School System for 26 years
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Anna Handy Fontes (Chappaquiddick Band) circa 1900

Willow Bascom

I grew up in Saudi Arabia and Panama, and traveled extensively in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Far East. That childhood gave me direct access to the world, and immersed me in the many diverse ways people use color and design to express their perceptions of the world and themselves.

What I find most fascinating is the way so many traditional art styles and design motifs have traveled around the world, carried by cross-cultural migrants to new locales, only to influence and be influenced by the traditions and styles in those new places. Art, I have come to see, is a universal conversation – a visual conversation.

My art is my contribution to this discussion. I call this sharing of design styles, motifs and elements World Folk Art.

But there is another aspect to my work. I regard it as a gift that came to me from being very ill. For a dozen years I had very active lupus with a lot of cerebral involvement, including a mild stroke. Recovery was a process. First to return was my love of music, then my vocabulary.  Prior to my illness I could copy well, but not create art. As I started getting better and realized I couldn’t work outside the home I started drawing. My first big project was a multi-cultural ABC book, Paisley Pig and Friends. In the process of drawing/writing it, my brain came alive again. I love drawing and it helped me get my life back. The connections between art and emotion, art and disability, access to our creative selves, and the peace that art (observed or created) gives us, fascinates me.