Rico X, a budding artist in the Nashville area, is the creative force behindBaba’s Hands Wood Carving. As an executive director of a youth program by day, Rico was exposed to wood carving during a visit to one of his site visits in November of 2014. The site director was teaching a group of kids and gave Rico an hour tutorial of the technique. Though Rico did not consider himself an “artist” at the time, he was immediately enthralled by the art of carving. Rico’s newfound passion coincided with the passing of his grandfather, who was a master carpenter. A few weeks into carving, Rico realized that he gravitated so much to this art as a means to connect with his grandfather’s legacy. Thus spawning the birth of Baba’s Hands Wood Carving. “Baba” means father in several African languages.
Deeply inspired by W.E.B. DuBois’ proclamation during the Harlem Renaissance, “Art is Propaganda,” the art of Baba’s Hands is filled with purpose. The artistic thrust of Baba’s Hands is to celebrate the rich legacy of African and African American culture and history. As an avid fan of Jazz, soul music, and hip hop, a prominent theme of Rico’s creations are the depictions of iconic Black musicians who used their platform to impact change. These pieces culminated in the Baba’s Hands 2015 Collection entitled “Black Music Is….” The other theme that appears in Baba’s Hands art, is the African aesthetic. Many of the pieces incorporate and fuses together African symbolism (i.e. Adinkra Symbols) and patterns.
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