For the release of Grails II, PROOF Collective partnered with Iconic Moments to bring the White House Historical Association and one of the world's most iconic traditional artists into Web3.
Iconic & PROOF began by taking a deep-dive into the incredible archives of the White House Collection. Among countless moments in history, breathtaking photography, and incredible pieces of art, one bright painting of concentric circles stood out: Resurrection by Alma Thomas.
On October 14, 2016, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception celebrating the recent renovation of the Old Family Dining Room, located on the State Floor of the White House.
"As many of you know, the President and I, we are true art lovers. We don’t know as much as some of our friends do, but we hope when we get out of here we’ll learn a little bit more. But we think that all our country’s great artists have a place within these walls...And today, the Old Family Dining Room is a highlight of the public tour and an enduring tribute to modern artists--from the Art Deco tea service, to the woven rug, to the stunning painting by Alma Thomas--who, by the way, is the first African American woman to have her art featured in this home."
In 1966, at the age of 74, Alma Thomas painted Resurrection. Painting from her living room, she observed patterns represented in light and nature outside her window and organized changing light and smaller patterns into her paintings.
"I decided to try to paint something different from anything I'd ever done. Different from anything I'd ever seen. I thought to myself, That must be accomplished. So I sat down right in that chair, that red chair here in my living room, and I looked at the window. And you can see exactly what I saw, right before my eyes, from where I was sitting in the chair. Why, the tree! The holly tree! I looked at the tree in the window, and that became my inspiration.
There are six patterns in there right now that I can see. And every morning since then, the wind has given me new colors through the windowpanes. I got some watercolors and some crayons, and I began dabbling. And that's how it all began. The works have changed in many ways, but they are still all little dabs of paint that spread out very free. So that tree changed my whole career, my whole way of thinking."
To interpret Resurrection for the Grails II collection, Iconic Moments and The White House Historical Association jointly selected digital artist and curator Linda Dounia Rebeiz, who uses physical and digital art mediums, including artificial intelligence.
“No work is a vacuum. She’s a black woman. I’m a black woman. Alma’s story could have been my story if I hadn’t gotten lucky.” Rebeiz told us. NFT art sales have allowed Rebeiz to become a full-time artist much earlier in her career than Alma Thomas was able to.
Inspired by Alma Thomas’s art and story, Rebeiz created Sparrows Do Not Fear the Sun. Season II, Grails #5, Rebeiz created the art through canvas, paint, artificial intelligence, and collage techniques. Grails II artists were revealed on August 25, 2022.