01 First Thoughts

… last night we watched a newish series, The Underground… it depicted in the most horrific way, the brutality of slave owners towards slaves, including the whipping and burning of one slave while the slave owners partied and danced… i did not watch the first episode to the end and it is doubtful i will watch another one… i just don’t want that sort of brutality seared on my brain, though i am sure that was the intent of the creators, that we know what the experience of slaves was, that we experience the appropriate amount of guilt and shame… i believe black and brown people were horrifically mistreated then and continue to be mistreated today… i believe it is wrong to treat black and brown people as anything less than equals… i am on board with reparations… i have little interest in being bludgeoned with a truth that changes little in the way i think, because i am already mostly there… and those who might need to shift their thinking on race in big ways are unlikely to watch it or change if they do… what is the point?…

05 Amy Sherald painting the American lives of Black People

As American As Apple Pie – Amy Sherald © Amy Sherald, Hauser & Wirth Photo: Joseph Hyde

an article on Amy Sherald, Michelle Obama portrait artist, painting the American lives of black people…

Each person’s identity is revealed only through visual cues and objects familiar to contemporary American life, for instance, the Barbie logo, denim, surfboards, a picket fence, and – in one case – a convertible. It’s all to “reinforce their inseparable connection to the nation’s historical and cultural fabric, and to reconstruct conceived notions and reinforce the multiplicities of Black American life”.1

… the tension of growing up Black and Brown American, having dreams of an American life that any of the rest of us have, but knowing that for a large section of white America, you are not entitled to the realization of those dreams…

07 On Protest and Mourning

… again, following up on note 05 from today, i find my way to the digital exhibition On Protest and Mourning at the Caribbean Cultural Center & African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) website… i read curator Grace Aneiza Ali’s statement…

Protest is a form of mourning; and mourning is a form of protest. Throughout these images we see a consistent narrative, a shared language, a call to action: we must resist slipping into numbness, we must always cry out against a state’s militarized violence, against the emotional and mental brutalities it wields. And, as a matter of survival, we must always cry out for the Black lives loved and lost.1

… Black Lives Matter…

… relative to the exhibit at The New Museum, i think, CCCADI is better positioned to curate a visual art representation of the oppression, grief and protest of black and brown people…

… i am ambivalent about doing this in the cultural institutions of white patriarchy… i think it is important to have a conversation, a conscience… to admit the wrong of systematic oppression… but i can’t let go of the idea that oppressive cultural and political structures have a huge capacity for self critique without changing… the object of the self critique being to say, we see, we understand… maybe some do, but overall, there is little change as a result…

05 Curating the Grief of Black and Brown People

there are two exhibitions discussed in this article… the first is what gets my attention… i am interested in the critique of star power rather than the subject of the exhibition… is this my white male privilege rearing an ugly head?…