Artist Statement: My painting "Cheapside Revisited: The Third Reconstruction" was inspired by Dr. Joseph Reidy's book: "Illusions of Emancipation: The Pursuit of Freedom and Equality in the Twilight of Slavery." He and other scholars suggest we are in a third reconstruction era, and that this time, America has the opportunity to genuinely change its culture in a deep, meaningful, lasting way. My painting depicts the three major phases of experience for African Americans: Slavery, Jim Crow, and now Black Lives Matter. With the illusion of Cheapside in the background, UK's basketball team kneel behind defiant individuals in the foreground. These individuals were painted from real photographs and took on their own power as I painted them. I wanted a different design, but they insisted on standing shoulder to shoulder. They wanted a Diego Rivera style: bold, blunt, no trimmings. Painting the collars and chains was a gut-wrenching experience. But it is part and parcel of who we are and what we need to address before moving on. The people in the foreground stand on burning coals. As they each remind us, we cannot rise from ashes while still standing on live embers. The burns are way too deep.
I would like to donate my painting to whomever would like to have it.
Kasandra McNeil has exhibited extensively throughout Kentucky and in parts of Illinois -- both in juried group exhibits and solo shows. Her work also is for purchase at The Wills Gallery in Lexington, KY and Eisele Gallery in Cincinnati, OH. She is a member of Oil Painters of America, Portrait Society of America, as well as several local Plein Air groups. She currently has two studios: one in her farmhouse in Western Pulaski County and one at Artists' Attic in Lexington.