Francelise Dawkins

Francelise Dawkins: French Caribbean Influence

An Introduction by Mary Kathryn Jablonski

Ask yourself what mandalas and poetry may have in common. Just as the images a kaleidoscope creates rely on repetition, patterning, sparks bouncing off one another, so too are the qualities of the poetic world. Where and how things are diced up is important to both. Parisian artist Francelise Dawkins makes her mandalas via collage. She is also a poet. Some would argue that poems are collages made of words.

These three artists (Lynne Browne, Francelise Dawkins, and Willie Marlowe) have all created mandalas or tondos in distinctive ways, achieving unique effects. Each exemplifies Tupelo Quarterly’s international theme for Issue 28 in a specific way as well. I encourage you to investigate more of their work, some of which has been inspired directly by the pieces you’ll see here, and to consider the effect the mandala may have on you, the circle itself being quite powerful.

Try finding some poems in forms like the triolet, rondel, or villanelle, poems that circle back upon themselves. Or, poems that entrance through repetition, like those of Brigit Pegeen Kelly.

Francelise Dawkins: An Artist Statement

Collages, whether made of words, paper, objects or cloth, have always been my means of expression. In 1988, I first coined the term “Silkollages” to introduce my meditative concept in textile collage. Then in 1992, I added “Ethnikollages” to re-activate cultural interest. My collages are either embroidered into miniature quilts or framed. When large and three-dimensional, they become hanging art quilts or soft installation pieces. Abstract or representational life forms as dancing shapes multiply in my work. I draw them out of colorful cloth from Asia, Africa, and Europe to visually create a blurring of boundaries between cultures. As a collage maze is formed, the viewers are invited to enter. If my playing on fabric brings the viewers to rethink the multiplicity expressed, an expansion of their own true awareness may occur. What I seek is an element of uncensored, emotional surprise, beyond multicultural reality. I am on a spiritual exploration, deepening my sense of what it really means to belong to the human race. It is about exploring that sense of oneness, born out of welcoming the differences we are.