I’m not sure what I’ve been doing thus far, but I finally got my life together and visited Savannah College of Art & Design, better known as SCAD. Well, SCAD FASH, where the school’s fashion and film exhibits are featured. It’s a pretty space and just $10 for us regular folks to visit, so I’ll definitely be making more trips.
Omar Victor Diop was the subject in his own series: Project Diaspora. He depicted many historians, yet incorporated soccer – balls, cleats, the red card, a whistle, etc. After speaking with one of the guides in the museum, I agree that in the original portraits, the subjects were holding something else and adding in the soccer elements is Omar’s way of personalizing and modernizing the photos even further.
I thought Project Diaspora was super fun and unique; I can’t recall ever seeing anything like it. Omar has a beautiful, androgynous face that worked perfectly to share his vision. You can read more about him and his work here and be sure to check out the haps at SCAD if you’re ever in Atlanta.
The Dirty Dozen: Jim Crow Fantasies
I had the pleasure of attending the opening reception for Okeeba Jubalo‘s art exhibit, The Dirty Dozen: Jim Crow Fantasies. If you’ve never heard of him (I hadn’t), I encourage you to peep his bio. He’s very interesting with a substantial career, humble with a quiet confidence whose weighty works speak volumes.
This piece (above) was the sunny spot of the exhibit. Or was it? I took it as being your own leader with your own thoughts- not outsourcing for acceptance, love or guidance. A god within, if you will. A unique, self-fueled standard of intelligence and beauty. It sounds kinda easy, but how many people can you tick off that refuse to face themselves(G-check) or dismiss constructive criticism? How many do you know that are stubborn and completely unwilling to consider differing ideas and opinions? Can you look in the mirror and only speak positively-not just “good” things about yourself, but the uncomfortable adjustments required to be better?
Okeeba Jubalo has taken it upon himself to create a visual voice for those made invisible in America’s social, economic and political infrastructure.(source)
His show was part of Transcendence, a Black History Month celebration of art, culture, togetherness and-the obvious-history.
When I walked into the gallery, I thought this hints of Basquiat-violent, graphic and almost primitive. Okeeba paints us as the caricatures found on brand-name products and their ads a few decades back. It may not be so blatant or as popular anymore, but it’s still being practiced today. Jim Crow Fantasies is an uncomfortable reminder that we’re still viewed as caricatures. Children in adult bodies. Fools. Even with the wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, we haven’t grown much from the era of Jim Crow, blackface, begging for “equality” and tap-dancing for white jesus.
I could really go into some of these pieces, but I’d like to leave it up to you, the viewers, to share your own interpretations. My little camera phone doesn’t do it justice, but I promise I tried.
As always, thanks for tuning in. And Okeeba, thank you for your necessary contributions to the art world.
dark skin, light skin
it don’t matter, we all kin
“shady” ©2016 KbW
and if this simple sketch was a song:
Did you peep the lyrics tho??! More more more of this, please!
Wale, me love you long time!
Human Condition: “the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence… such as birth, growth, conflict, and mortality… including religion, philosophy, history, art, and sociology.”
I was personally invited by one of the curators to view Remnants of the Human Condition. You know, all exclu xclu (pronounced: ex(s)klOO skloo) style in my business inbox. What?! So I had to go. The synopsis was intriguing: (Joseph) Guay’s thought-provoking exhibit will examine the characteristics, events and situations that encompass human existence, such as birth, growth, conflict and mortality. “Remnants of the Human Condition” will explore the difficult topics in the media that attempt to sum up the human condition and will allow the audience to experience a differing visual approach that will broaden their views and beliefs. source
Most of the pieces were meticulously made from bullets, casings, gun powder, motor oil and glass-something my eyes had never seen. Just more proof that art is everything and anything can be made into art, right. I appreciate Guay’s efforts and the attention he’s bringing to certain issues, but I don’t think he quite gets it. In his statement, he does make some great points, but it goes much much deeper than “civilians” getting their hands on military grade weapons + ammunition. It’s more than a question of who should own guns. His exhibition highlighted shooting murders by cops as well as civilians, yet most of the victims depicted are Black [with the exception of Sandy Hook, which to me, is unbelievable]. Yet this significant detail was not once mentioned in his statement. The skin color and ethnic makeup of the shooting victims were never mentioned actually.
Maybe that was my bad, attending a show with the pre/misconception of an artist who, although not Black himself, I thought was an ally or at least believed that these murderers should be called out on their acts of terrorism. A man who felt the need to probe not only the reality that we are disproportionately attacked + executed, but why.
The show was interesting. Major visual appeal. The depiction of Trayvon with a head of Skittles facing a wall of black hoodies-the center hoodie in a crucified position- was quite haunting. And it always makes my heart sink thinking of this boy’s senseless murder. After learning of Guay’s vision and journey to create these works, I was a bit disappointed to learn that yes, he is an artist whose art reflects the times, but still doesn’t quite understand, or fails to state that he understands, that Black people and other people of color are under attack. Under attack by people that look like him, people that look like me, strangers, cops, and familiars alike. From every direction. Every day.
In Guay’s statement, he says he would just like people to expand whatever perspective they already have and truly think about the issues at hand. I hope he heeds his own hopes and continues to learn about the genocide of the victims he spotlights in his work.
Short answer? Heck no.
There’s something that haunts me. Something that whispers to me faintly from far off with each day that passes and every time I pick up my pen. I’ve gotta good at ignoring it, so good that I often think it’s gone but every once in a while it’ll catch me off guard and I’ll hear […]