Gary Kaulitz on SANKOFA: Years & Caretakers

Sankofa is an Akan word that means, "We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today."

The works in this exhibit are an amalgamation of two different bodies of work dealing with my going back and looking at the past.

YEARS: 64 in 64

Years are a collection of 64 monoprints, one for each year of my life. Each print is a snapshot of cultural, political and personal events that helped shape the person I am today. Some you will decipher others you won’t or even know they are there but be assured that from the esoteric to the obvious they define my being as surely as my fingerprints. Like stream of conscious thought I offer no explanation other than their presence. Perhaps in the viewing you will recognize threads of your own past.


Three women raised me with my two sisters being primary influences and my mother secondary. Men were there but more like participants of musical chairs in that once the music stopped it seemed new men were sitting in the role of male figurehead. My mother, Eunice, due to life’s tragedies, illness, multiple marriages and substance abuse relinquished much of my care to my two sisters Dorene and Donaldlene, 10 and 12 years my senior. They in turn were left to rely on their mutual love and inter dependency when they temporarily lost our mother, at ages 5 and 3, due to an automobile accident that killed their father and seriously injured our mother. Caretakers are large monoprint portraits echoing relationships, elements, events and stream of conscience vignettes of these three women. Like trailers for movies I intend the images of recollections to be fleeting but indelible, leaving fingerprints of their past and its effect.