Royal Detroit artist paints colorful vision of peace
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
“If you want to talk about balance, a balance of colors is always the best in order to facilitate a nice living environment,” says Her Highness Princess Sherry Selassie-Young, a master painter, humanitarian, and descendant of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. “Or you could stress one color over another if you’re ill, or if you’re depressed, or if you’re stressed or something of that nature. But balance is always the key.”
Today’s global society is troubled from a lack of balance — the broadening wealth gap, the destruction of the environment, says Young, who currently resides in Detroit. But through her relationship with other royal dignitaries, Young is working to help create this balance through the eradication of poverty.
From Africa to the United States, here in Detroit, and in every local community on the planet, her goal is to use her talents and passion for peace to influence those in power to help those impoverished. Her work will be on display at the 555 Gallery through June 14.
On June 14, the 555 Gallery will host an all-day festival featuring local artists including Young, with vendors and art live art exhibitions in a flea market style event.
Later in June, her work will be shown at the Global Officials of Dignity Awards at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, where she will witness the honoring of Her Imperial Majesty Empress Shebah Kasambu ‘Ra III as Noble Woman of the Year.
Queen Shebah III of Nubia is Empress of the African Kingdoms Federation and founder of the Project VII Phoenix, the goal of which is the sustainable and fair development of all 54 African nations.
“What’s important is how we treat each other, how we treat our fellow man, how we treat our fellow God’s creation,” says Young, exuding an elegant demeanor and an artist’s spirit. “With the one percent having all the wealth of the world and holding it, mind you, and there (are) kids dying — they don’t have any water, they don’t have any food, they don’t have any shelter. Does anybody care about that?”
Young speaks fluently on the science of color and the natural responses it invokes in the body, suggesting connections between urban society’s general malaise and depression and the dull color-scape of today’s cities.
Her own paintings, which have been displayed throughout Europe as well as the U.S., including the Museum of New Art in Armada, are a majestic representation of nature in vivid, peaceful colors. She has received a letter of high interest from Christie’s, the internationally renowned art auction house, and is listed in the Smithsonian Institution’s artist files, validating her work as a modern treasure.
“I’m trying to educate people on the knowledge of color,” she says. “It was used by the ancient Egyptians, all ancient societies in their royal lineage used color.”
In addition to being a descendant of Haile Selassie and Cherokee Chief Major Ridge, her father is of the noble house of Watson, connected to the Queen of England. Young received an invitation by Sir Banja Tejan-Sie to exhibit her art this June for the Queen of England, part of the Global Officials of Dignity celebrations.
Her knowledge of color has come from studying not only art aesthetics, but also the works of scientists, such as the Nobel Prize winner Niels Ryberg Finsen who has proven the therapeutic benefits of color therapy.
From Michigan to Africa, the deep connection of humanity to one another is increasingly evident, and regardless of one’s background or profession, the need for service is present. Through her art, Young hopes to affect change by appealing to the hearts of a royal society disconnected from the plight of the world’s most impoverished.
“When we help somebody else we’re really helping ourselves,” says Young.