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Michelle often works in a series, visually exploring the cultural significance of decoration and symbology. Influences include the Ndebele painted houses of South Africa, Korhogo cloth patterns from the Ivory Coast, Ghanaian gold weights, Bogolan mud cloth from Mali, and patterns used in Ethiopian body painting.

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Michelle Davis Petelinz

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Michelle says, “My goal is to interpret visual elements so they will resonate with the viewer as objects at once unusual and familiar, evoking ancestral and contemporary design, and speaking across cultures to the deep well of the universal. As I create my own mixed media work, I am irresistibly drawn to incorporate symbols, patterns, textures, and colors found in African and Native American cultures, which are my heritage.  My wall pieces often feature original hand-cut stamps, gelatin prints, painted papers, handmade papers, and polymer clay.”

Living in Raleigh, NC, she is passionate about sharing techniques and tips which she’s used in her own work, and in teaching art to people of all ages and abilities.  She says, “I have conducted classes and workshops at the Sertoma Art Center, Jerry’s Artarama, Total Life Center, Life Experiences, and I have been the resident artist at Wake Enterprises since 2012.  Having taught students from age 17 months to 102 years old, I can truly say that I have witnessed the power of art to engage, excite, and make the world a more colorful place.  

“In addition to my teaching duties, I also display and sell my work in art festivals, direct the art program for a yearly two-day art and music festival in downtown Raleigh, and consult on a variety of art projects for people with disabilities through Arts Access.”