I really, really love Yoko Ono-her spirit, her art and her boldness. While in London I was able to visit the Serpentine Gallery located in the beautiful Kensington Gardens. The purpose for my visit to was to view the Yoko Ono exhibit To The Light which featured the Smiles Film.The purpose of this film according to Yoko is to fulfill her ultimate goal in film-making by making a film that includes a smiling face snap of every single human being in the world. At the end of the exhibit gallery visitors are invited to add their picture to the film which I did with my new friend Ariana a fellow traveler from New Zealand. See the picture below:
For thousands of years people of African descent have created wonderful pieces of visual art, most of which was stolen by “archaeologist” and is held in museums throughout the Western world. In spite of the classism and racism that is prevalent in the art world there are many Black artist who are continuing our creative tradition and pushing artistic boundaries. Though many of us know that we dominate music, dancing and singing it should also be noted that from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Kara Walker Black artist have and are currently making valuable contributions to the art world. Most often Black art is not just “art for art’s sake” but a visual call to justice. View these wonderful pieces of of art below:
By Kara Walker
The piece above is a powerful reflection on the destruction of the Black family that occurred during slavery, though uncomplicated it shows the terror of slavery. Instead of featuring the male slave master this piece shows the role white women played in slavery thus challenging the traditional slave narrative.
“Apparitional Visitations” by Suzanne Jackson, 1973
This piece by Suzanne Jackson is a beautiful reflection on the inner spirit of the Black woman.
“Sleep” by Kehinde Wiley Photo by AP Photo/Corcoran Gallery of Art
This piece is a powerful and beautiful representation of the Black man. “Sleep” was featured in the 30 Americans’ exhibit at Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art. 30 Americans’ was an exhibition of Black male contemporary artist that focused on sexuality, racism and historical identity.
“No Time for Jivin” by John Outterbridge, 1969
Rugged with a splash of red this piece gets straight to the point.
A few months ago a grave spectacle of so-called art took place in Sweden where a cake of an African-American woman’s body (created by a biracial man) was cut by the Swedish minister of “culture”, while those in the room cheered and laughed. What is shocking about this is that the cake was created to look like a black face caricature of a Black woman and the cake was cut where the reproductive organs would be. This cake is known as the “Venus Hottentot Cake”. Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman a slave became known as “Venus Hottentot” and was taken to Europe to have her body exhibited, she was sometimes kept as an animal in a zoo and the cake looked like a caricature of her likeness. This was not art but a barbaric reenactment of female genital mutilation and yet another example of how the Black woman’s womb is under attack. I have written about the high incidents of fibroids among Black women and though diet plays a great role in this health crisis stress, psycho-social and spiritual issues also play a role in reproductive heath. Though we may feel that all is well and that we are seen as fully human a quick look around in the media, music and now contemporary art shows that the Black woman’s sexuality is still being used to sell everything and her womb is still being exploited. Sadly this art was created by an African-Swedish man who has made weak attempts to address the criticism of this art “exhibit” Dr. Claudette Carr wrote an Open Letter from African Women to the Minister of Culture: The Venus Hottentot Caketo address this travesty.