The science fiction, gaming, and costuming world is not immune from the problems of the "real" world, including race and color. Historically, the fan world has been overwhelmingly white and male, and though it is slowly becoming more "diverse," the imbalance is still there. In my participation in the costuming community, it was rare to see Black costumers. But I do have one long-time African American friend in that community and it was for her, at her suggestion, that I came up with this costume concept. The "African Violet" flower, familiar in indoor gardens and nearly extinct in the wild, was the inspiration for this ball gown. The body and skirt of the gown are made from soft, quilted "leaves" covered in a velvety fabric. The sash across the chest is made from purple silk flowers. The original idea is from cultivated Nature and has nothing to do with ethnic African designs.
Ink and watercolor on illustration board, 7" x 10", February 1991.