Brenda Davis (1962 – 2022)
Inspired by visions that “God sends to me,” Brenda Davis filled the walls and ceilings of her double-wide mobile home in rural Alabama with painted depictions of boldly abstracted flowers and birds, multi-colored fronds, primeval jungle royalty, calligraphic-like seals, insects, and painterly swirls. Purchased in 2008, it became Brenda’s fantastical refuge from a troubled life where she continued her longtime practice of taking-in children and adults in need of care.
Diagnosed in childhood with mental disorders, Brenda recalled constantly getting into fights in school, and that she was permanently expelled before learning to read or write. During her 20’s, she cut herself and took overdoses: “I always felt like I was born of this world, but I’m not from this world.” In 2005, her husband and son were shot and seriously wounded during a home invasion. Brenda wasn’t injured, but she became despondent with God over why her son – not herself – had been victimized and disabled. God told her to go back into the house, find some paper and draw “the face of a man and a woman. . . name it blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh.” After that first drawing, “I haven’t stopped, He gives me so many stories.” She also covered clothes, hats, shoes, lampshades, and cars with her distinctive painting style, and would often appear as a head-to-toe, walking work of Brenda Davis art.
In addition to mental health counseling, Brenda struggled with multiple sclerosis for about twenty years, and more recently a cancer diagnosis. Although cracked or broken-apart hearts are reappearing motifs, Brenda’s paintings have a redemptive, uplifting escape-to-a-rapturous-spiritual-world aspect that seems to have sprung from her unending earthly afflictions:
“I choose to believe that there’s no such thing as a birthday— it’s an ‘earth day,’ and every day that you wake up and join the earth you have a day of celebration, celebrate because why? You woke up today, you’re able to walk, you’re able to talk, many people didn’t get up today, many people didn’t live to see another day.”
Imagine having a gift to see the colors and images all around you all the time, and having the talent to place them on any kind of medium which could result in changing people’s lives. Well, this was the “Super Power” of visionary artist Brenda Davis of Prattville, Alabama. Brenda was one of the artists that we featured here at the CORE Center.
She left us and her family abruptly, but she left us with the legacy of light codes of the cosmos and nature. All her works had a story, a lesson, a feeling and a prophecy. Her work is total love and she carried it out to her last breath. We and the world have been blessed to have had this Angel in our presence. We will miss her, but her work will continue to change lives. Brenda, Job Well Done!!! – Dr. Deborah Carter
Brenda would paint anything; clothes, boots, furniture, cars…her whole house was painted
“I wake up in the morning times, Mr. Tim, it goes on all the time. It don’t never stop. It’s always all of me, I’m sitting here looking at your pants and I see designs on your pants, I know, and if I sit here and look at the sky I can see designs in the sky. I like being truthful, I just don’t want people to think I’m weird. I can look at the grass and the grass will speak to me. I can see the air where peoples might not see it.”
Brenda Davis, AL. News
Rest well, Brenda.
Featured Image: Fred Scruton, Photographer and Friend to Brenda