August 11, 2015

Black Life Matters: Here is the Evidence

The heat of this summer struck me when I saw this photo in the news from the Watts Riots in Los Angeles — 50 years ago. 

At the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture an exhibit, Curators’Choice: Black Life Matters up until August 15, 2015. It holds layers on the complexity everyday black life for reflection on #BlackLivesMatter.  "The exhibition presents issues of history and culture, art and society, memory and narrative, intimacy and rejection, joy and comfort, race and justice (of life and death) that are just a relevant today as ever before."

A large exhibit banner hangs high outside at the top of the building almost as a memorial. I have moved through the exhibit space a few times. First musing Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence and other visual artists then the storytelling of Browngirl Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. There are moving images and recorded sounds in the "Evidence of Things Un*Seen" with a documentary on the Civil Rights Movment.  A global diaspora lens into black life around the world is found in the wonder of the photojournalist lens of Richard Saunders.  I am eager to see more of his work and there is so much more behold in this exhibit.

I also have an exhibit postcard on the back cover of my journal as a reminder to write and create in response to the darkness. In the spirit of Arthur Schomburg's 1925 seminal essay, I feel an urge to dig deeper to create my own retrospective of black life through reading, visual art, music, performance and other cultural experiences. Uncovering historical evidence of generational black life genius. When time permits I have pulled down archives, reviewed photographs and artwork also reading what has meaning for me. 

There are long summer nights to grab hold of films, move through music, take hold of vast amounts of online educational lectures as well as other interactive material including social media.

I understand freedom as a process where every generation has tough questions to consider for a response in better days ahead. 


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