Bag Lady in Flight

IMG_2480

Art by David Hammons

I saw this abstract art at the Brooklyn Museum. While Hammons first presented his art  in the 70’s for many reasons outside of environment awareness, I think  abstract art using any type of bag now is needful.

I got a text from my sister instructing me to start a project with my students using just plastic bags.

Our Voice

Over the Martin Luther King, Jr. day weekend, I felt super cold, super bless and super special.

I was super cold because it was super cold! I went to Amherst, Massachusetts to view Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards at the Eric Carle Museum and got caught in a terrible snow storm.

IMG_1446

I felt super blessed for many reasons…

  1. I missed my bus from Boston to Amherst and got to the museum after the event with Onawumi Jean Moss ended…but was just in time to see her!
  2. I really wanted to go to the museum for a while and went on the perfect weekend- (sometimes the cold and snow can be a good thing) not only did I get to view the very informative exhibit but Onawumi Jean Moss stayed at the museum almost three extra hours mentoring my sister and I! Which leads me to why I felt super special.

Okay, now I am beginning to think that  feeling blessed and feeling special are the same feelings…anyways…I felt this good feeling because my sister, April, knew how badly I wanted to visit the Eric Carle Museum and when I told her I was going that weekend, she willingly accompanied me and did everything in her power to make sure I enjoyed myself…minus her trying to keep me from exploring cold Boston alone…that’s another funny story.

I also felt special because the education coordinator  at the museum, Courtney, heard about our long trip there and while Onawumi gave me some lesson plan ideas, she went into the museum shop and got me a free copy of In Plain Sight by Richard Jackson and Jerry Pinkney, which is one of the books Onawumi suggested I use in the classroom.

While we were all conversing,  Ms. Custard, an assistant principal at Ahmerst Reginal High School, came in the room to check on Onawumi and joined the very intimate conversation about race and education in America.

After the discussion, I viewed the amazing art work on the walls (the exhibition celebrated illustrators who won the Coretta Scott King Award. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the children’s book award. ) and  I realized I either owned a copy of the books or knew of the books before hand. However, some I did not have…such as….

Ray Charles by Sharon Bell Mathis and George Ford – Most of the teachers in my school teach the children Fifty Nifty States which is a tune written by Ray Charles. This is a grand opportunity to introduce the Rhythm and Blues singer to the children.

I  purchased The Creation  by James Weldon Johnson and James E. Ransome at the museum. I did not know it was made into a children’s book. If you remember, I had read the poem at the Ritz Museum in Jacksonville, Florida. I shared it with the Little Flock (the children at my church) and the response was lovely.

I was surprised to see Jan Spivey Gilchrist and Eloise Greenfield’s Nathaniel Talking,  which is a poem my sisters and I memorized growing up, on the wall. This poem was in our school readers growing up. Our teachers skipped over the poem which made the poem even more exciting to read. We took the book home and memorized it…just so we could rap.

Most times it is very difficult to teach children about the lives of musicians without a children’s book which is why I plan to buy:

Bryan Collier and Troy Andrews Trombone Shorty, Frank Morrison and Katheryn Russell-Brown’s Little Melba and her Big Trombone and Jerry Pinkney and Bille Holiday’s God Bless the Child .

I should also purchase, Kadir Nelson’s We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball because I was never into sports so I am really horrible when it comes to teaching the history of sports……It just so happens that I have a little boy in my class to loves to talk about baseball since he lives right next to Yankee Stadium.

I also purchased, N. Joy and Nancy Devard’s The Secret Olivia Told Me at the museum. I always thought silhouette art was the bomb and so does my students!

Lastly, I want a copy of Benny Andrews’ Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes. I must admit that I was a bit surprised to see the same artist work in two different exhibits in two different cities for two different reasons. I learned about Benny Andrews at the Brooklyn Museum when I viewed, Soul of a Nation. When I saw his work at the Eric Carle museum, I had to double checked to see if it was the same person, which it is.

 

 

 

Carousel Change

IMG_1024

I am at the Brooklyn Museum viewing Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power and behind me is an installation view, by Washington D.C. based artist Sam Gilliam. It’s called “Carousel Change”.

I love installation art. When I saw this piece, I thought about The Gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I read an article on Mnuchin Gallery’s page and found that Gilliam got the idea to paint canvas and hang it as oppose to framing it,  from watching women in his neighborhood hang their clean laundry.

 

The Flag is Bleeding

Faith Ringgold’s 1967 painting “American People Series #18: The Flag Is Bleeding” in the new Brooklyn Museum exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.”

Something Black in America

On Thursday I took my little brothers to the Brooklyn Museum to view and hear Question Bridge: Black Males. 

This exhibition was put together by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Chris Johnson in collaboration with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair.

I am glad I went to the exhibit. I am now able to understand African American males a little more. Just because I am African American doesn’t mean I fully understand what my brothers are going through. I think they have to put up with things like racism a little more than their sisters.

Not only did I walk away with a better understanding of my brothers but I also walked away feeling empowered. Listening to the dialogue and having certain questions answered by men from all walks of life brought a type of energy in the room, a  feeling of being satisfied about who I am.

I would suggest this exhibition to anyone from any race, male and female. Sometimes when you learn things about others, you learn things about yourself.

The quote in the picture reads:

“There is something called black in America, and there is something called white in America, and I know them when I see them, but I will forever be unable to explain the meaning of them, because they are not real, even though they have a very real place in my daily way of seeing, a fundamental relationship to my ever-evolving understanding of history and a critical place in my relationship to humanity.”

– Carl Hancock-Rux,