In pragmatic and symbolic terms, a saying among the Yoruba people of Nigeria -- "A person uses his hands to repair [create] himself" -- invokes their belief in the relationship between individual responsibility and creativity.2 Similarly, African-American sculptor Renée Stout has embraced the mystery and revelation of identity as her goal. Stout's approach is neither ideological nor literal, for she prefers . . .

photo: Gary Lilley
I am trying to create art that helps me put together what are only fragments, to try to create a whole, so that I can gain a better understanding of my own existence. In doing this, I hope that others, no matter where they come from, will realize some answers about their own existence.1