History all jugged up

I am standing in front of Simone Leigh’s Large Jug in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It is included in an exhibition entitled, “Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina”.

This exhibition opens up a different jug of worms. While most slave narratives of 19th Century speak about the Atlantic Slave trade and the presence of Africans in the cotton fields, viewing Hear Me Now makes the viewer think, well, what else did Africans / African Americans contribute too? What other narratives are they apart of that we know very little to nothing about? It remind us that the slave was not confined or small at all, instead, he had a large presence and was in every walk of life.

While the entire story is told from many view points, the one artist that walks away with you is Dave. Mr. Dave Drake. He found a way to live on forever through his pottery by using the very thing that could have gotten him killed, visual literacy.

Above to the left is the jug that I couldn’t stop circling around. It reads:

nineteen days before Christmas- Eve- Lots of people after its over, how they will greave,

I wonder…. how in the world did he get away with a quote like that? He seemed to share the same status as Fredrick Douglass; yet, he was enslaved!

Douglass escape slavery in 1881. Drake’s pottery was issued in 1858. This means that way before Frederick Douglass wrote his speech, ‘What, to the slave, is the fourth of July‘? Drake was already addressing the same topic throughout his pottery.

Lesson plan idea: Visit exhibit with students and allow them to write ‘what if’ stories for Dave. Allow them to create stories to fill in some of the missing pieces of Dave’s story that we do not know…

Super Saturday

This past Saturday, was Super Saturday.

It a day set aside for Pratt’s graduate students to present their year long projects to the Pratt Community. It’s a fun time, a time to gather and meet. A time for discussions about community, preservation, gentrification. A time for futuristic thinking. Planning. Mapping. GISing.

A time to find out about what’s being built in the city and what’s being taken down. Who’s doing what and how are they doing it and where is the money coming from. Who got a scholarship and how was it possible and how can I sign up for next time.

It’s a time to be questioned by peers and professors about how you foresee your project coming into fruition.

This year It happened virtually.

Someone had the control to mute voices. Someone had the control to mute comments. Any type of talking meant timing and/ or texting.

This time, the Pratt Community spoke about Community trying to maintain what they knew as community.

Nari Ward’s We the People

 

Here are the  first three words of the U.S. Constitution—“We the people…”

There – collecting and constructing was Nari Ward

Shoelaces from the public. People from all walks of life.

Using what they gave him to make a huge statement about government and history and time.

About the Artist: Nari Ward was born in St. Andrew Jamaica and now lives in New York.

I took these photos at the New Museum, however; this mural can be found at the New York Historical Society.