I haven't forgotten anyone at all, I thought I would go right into blogging and editing the video for the Red Tails tribute that was given at my local library. It was a great event to say the least, the audience fully enjoyed the whole shabang, and I was able to exhibit my community artwork. I also met some locals who didn't know I existed, but then again there are many who don't know me in my neck of the woods. But in addition to the exhibit, my picture along with my artwork was put in the community newspaper(oh boy, I hate photographs) and I was able to present a piece that really made everybody's day. Sgt. Hogues and family could not get over the appreciation and the effort that was put into it, and I have to thank Ms. Almetta Russell, who really worked hard to get this off the ground, as well as the staff at the Highland Hills Library for their support. I have already informed them of my plans for another exhibit soon.
The event was really about Sgt. Hogues in the first place, but I got the wrong impression. I spent days before the event telling everyone that it was also an exhibit, even though the fliers did not speak of such. I realize now the event was a community affair in his honor, and I am privileged to have shown my work at such a prestigious function. However the one piece dedicated to Sgt. Hogues of the Tuskegee Airmen stole the show, although it was not my intention.
Very few people knew about the painting. Ms. Russell informed me a few weeks going into the event that she would like to give something to him as a token of respect and appreciation for what he and the rest of the Tuskegee Airmen accomplished, especially in the face of such blatant racism, such racism that a lot of Americans believed did not exist anymore until Trayvon Martin, although some of us were telling people that the menace was still present...I won't mention names here, it's not important. I didn't show anyone the piece until a couple of hours before the event. Everyone was blown away by it, even the neighbors as I walked to the library. One elderly gentlemen quipped, "You never know what a person can do...." But he's right. Only a few in my area knew what I was capable of.
But the effect that it had on the community, the Hogues family, and me as well proves of the powerful impact that visual art can have on any society. This community has suffered and still suffers from a serious identity crisis, no one could define any landmarks or any notable presence except former basketball player Spud Webb of the NBA, but that's typical of the hood.
Barbara Hogues, daughter of Staff Sgt. Hogues explained during the event that the family was not aware of his involvement of the Tuskegee Airmen until 2008, and he didn't receive his Congressional Medal of Honor until 2009 from the same airport that denied him a job shortly after retiring from the military, telling him the only thing he could do was custodian work. This was AFTER the success the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II.
We still have a long way to go before Blacks get serious respect here in America, especially with Trayvon Martin continually haunting America, but now Black youth, as well as White youth should realize all of those slavery stories and stories of racism and domestic terrorism still have impact, because it never left....
Overall I felt it was a victory for a small area that no one cared to remember, except in a negative light, but now we have history as well as culture to bring to the table.
I thought I'd come back with the quickness, seeing that I did not fully explain why my latest proposed exhibit Grey Matters is being pushed back, but really the news is great, and it could really lead to something else, God Willing.
I wanted to push the project back due to an event coming March 17th that I feel very honored and priveleged to partake in. On March 17th, Staff Sgt. Homer Hogues, one of the original Tuskegee Red Tails will be speaking for about an hour at the Highland Hills Library. One of the librarians, Ms. Almetta Russell, had been pushing very hard for this to happen, along with being an avid supporter and lover of my work. She finally got the go ahead to produce this event, and in the process she has commissioned me to present a piece in his honor. I felt this was a great opportunity to build bridges, educate and pay respects to someone who contributed a great service.
Then last week while at home recovering from some sort of sinus attack, I received an email from her, requesting that I exhibit my work in addition to presenting a piece to Staff Sgt. Homer Hogues...
WOW!!!! Here was an opportunity to remix the See What I See(CWATIC) exhibit to another audience. So I'm back at the lab again, concocting some pieces that I feel best represents the community, and expanding my scope as well. I'm looking at this as a bridge or a prelude to the Grey Matters which I hope will bring a lot of different perspectives to the project. Plus I have other projects coming up, hoping to raise some funds in order to publicize Grey Matters much more intensely...
Things have been picking up since last October when I started this exhibit thingy, and I have some very special people to thank...You know who you are...But I also want to thank those who continue to take time to read about my little world...Thank you so much...I pray there's more in store....Peace.
CWATIC @ WWW.QARTWORKS.COM.... Click HERE to enter...
OK, before everyone jumps on me all at once, my sincerest apologies for the lack of blogging during the month of February, things went off course, I mean in a good way that is, but what's in store was not expected in the least.
For starters the Grey Matters exhibit...It's still on, but let me tell ya, after reading an awesome book this past February entitled Slavery By Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon, and watching Roots and The Next Generation Miniseries over and over and over again, I saw and read things that made me say like....WHOA!!! I was forced to think twice before rushing to put out a half done exhibit, ya know? I mean I was knocked flat by the things this book alluded to that was not clearly shown or explained in Roots: The Next Generation.
The book goes into details in what was known in some circles as "The Black Codes". These were some of the most bogus laws ever drempt up, mainly intended to put Blacks back into another form of slavery. I came across this issue years back, but this book put it into clearer perspective. The author, who found out that some of his distant ancestors somehow benefitted from this rehashed form of slavery, wrote this book which focuses on one individual, but goes into detail about what happened to thousands of Blacks after the Civil War. Horrible deaths, sexual perversion and all types of crimes of humanity went without a hitch, and scores of convict graves have surfaced. The author also has planned to show a documentary on PBS this year, and you know me...I had to get the book if it was available, and whoop! THERE IT WAS!
Anyway, the story goes that after the "Emancipation Proclamation" many southern states sought other ways to enslave Blacks. They would concoct some of the most ridiculous reasons to arrest Blacks such as forbidding sharecroppers from selling their produce as night, so called vagrancy laws, talking loud in public or speaking disrespectfully in the presence of White women...oh boy...Then the person was taken to court and slapped with fines ranging from paying the arresting officer court fees and the like. Now of course the person did not have the money to pay it, so White plantation owners, or other corporations like the mineries and so forth would claim to pay the fines, in exchange for the "convict" to work off the fine in either their plantations, coalmines, railroads etc. There they were subjected to extremes that make the antebellum slavery look good. Many companies profitted big time from forced labor, and the companies, arresting officers and the neo-slaveowners got away virtually without a scratch.
Many Blacks had no idea of the convict-leasing system that went on in America, they were given the idea that the people broke the law, and so they deserved what they got. Just like today with the prison-industrial complex. Corporate media has skewered things so much as well as government propaganda, to where Americans actually believe those who enter the prisons deserve it, especially Blacks.
In a nutshell, I felt I could not just throw up an exhibit after reading such great books, which shed much light on this subject and the ongoing subject of racism and slavery in America...It ain't over folks. I mean this is not the only reason, because I am reading other books as well that's expanding my scope.
In addition I have some other things on tap that I hope to explain in my next blog, so don't worry folks, no more string of Youtube videos for a while, ok?