Tag Archive | civil rights

The Art of Justice

Bringing together the artwork of over 40 local and national artists is an exhibit to honor the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington is “The Art of justice.” The exhibit is organized by Michael Anthony Brown, Toni George, and Greg Scott and features works from a range of different genres. The Art of Justice reflects the artists’ perspectives of the historical and current state of justice in the U.S, as well as the continuing fight for racial equality. The Art of Justice is striving to encourage a “new generation of social awareness” to shape future activism for social justice.

Organizers of the exhibit are currently raising funds for the exhibit to further expand in size and continue spreading its message by traveling nationally. The opening reception for The Art of Justice will be held on Friday, August 23, 2013 from 5-8pm at the Mount Rainier Artists Loft Gallery. There will be a pre-march celebration featuring performances by Ayanna Gregory from her play, “Daughter of the Struggle.”  The gallery itself will be open daily from 12 noon to 7pm and the exhibit will run through Sunday, September 8th 2013.

 

For more information on the exhibit please visit theartofjustice.org

“For All the World to See” Opens this week at UMBC

For All the World to See, the new exhibit at UMBC’s Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, explores the critical role of visual images in impacting the fight for civil rights in the United States. The exhibit contains over 250 images from posters, graphic art, magazines, photographs, newspapers, books, pamphlets, political buttons, comic books, newsreels, postcards, toys, television, and clips from films. The exhibit chronicles the historic role of visual imagery in shaping peoples’ attitudes, beliefs, and inspiring activism and eventual legislation. For All the World to See showcases the importance of visual images in invoking emotional responses in individuals, communities, and the country at large. As the world continues to become increasingly more reliant on visual media and camera phone videos are common place amongst the 5 o’clock news, the message of the exhibit remains timely. The exhibit is co-organized by the Center for the Art, Design and Visual Culture, UMBC and the Smithsonian Nation Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C. It has been touring New York and Tennessee and will be at UMBC on November 15th until March 10, 2013.

UMBC has been working on a project to expand the exhibit that opens as well on Nov. 15th entitled For All the World to Hear. Organized by the Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture, UMBC, the project involved a dozen senior-citizens from the Baltimore area to write and perform their own personal stories regarding their experiences being involved in the fight for civil rights. After their live performances there will be mediated discussions with audience members. The first performance will be at noon on Thursday November 15th at UMBC in The Commons.

For more information on For all the World to See visit the website and view the online exhibit.

For more information and future performances of For All the World to Hear visit the UMBC website.

Ashley Milburn: Flipping What We See

As Ashley Milburn was beginning his work as an artist he struggled to find meaning or purpose in the creation of art while in the studio. It was when he began to do art that was community based that he felt that his work was truly “valuable.” Milburn describes community based art as impactful because of the engagement and sharing that the artist experiences with community. Essential to community based art he feels is the ability for the artist to give up ownership of the art making process and allow themselves to come into the project with a blank slate that is capable of being inspired from within the community itself.  Driven by his passion for community art last year Milburn helped organize ROOTS Fest 2011, an outdoor festival and gathering of community-based art-makers and practitioners who engaged in community dialogues, held performances,  visual art installations, films, and more in West Baltimore.

Milburn has drawn his inspiration from the community and topics that have proven timely and personal. Through his work The Hoodie Diaries, he draws attention to the way in which our society attributes entire realities to inanimate objects. His work focuses on the hoodie, which has been invented from a simple piece of clothing into a threatening and dangerous symbol profoundly embedded in racist anxiety. The construction of this false reality is used as a tool to oppress people of color and maintain the created image of a menace to society. Milburn challenges the societal perceptions of the hoodie by transforming the stigmatized clothing into three dimensional works of art whose beauty expose the false reality behind the constructed image.

In Milburn’s new project Flipped: The Art of Visualizing Racism, he continues his work focused on “flipping” and changing negative images into something transformative. “Flipped” works to highlight the deep seeded roots of racist imagery embedded in American culture by drawing examples of these images and using them in his art. Milburn’s new pieces take the images intended to dehumanize and oppress a race of people and creates a new message that works to dismantle the old. The use of the racist imagery assures that the viewer does not forget the extensive history of racism or the impact that such imagery has on manipulating societal attitudes. At the same time the way in which the images are used and flipped challenges the power behind the images by changing not only the way the images are viewed, but who is creating them.

Throughout his work Milburn consistently shows how art can be used as a tool to expose the problematic aspects of society. In his different projects he is able to take images and objects that are immersed in racism and transform them into wholly new works of art that disarm the original power and intent all the while ensuring that its history is still visible. The Hoodie Diaries can be seen at the upcoming Facing Race conference in Baltimore from November 15-17th, please visit arc.org/faceingrace for more information. For more information on The Hoodie Diaries please click here. For more information on Flipped: The Art of Visualizing Racism please click here.

Toni Morrison and Bob Dylan to be Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Toni Morrison and Bob Dylan have been named as two of 13 recipients of  the Presidential Medal of Freedom.   In a statement from the White House last Thursday, President Obama said, “These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our Nation.  They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place.  I look forward to recognizing them with this award.”   The  honorees  will be awarded and celebrated in a White House ceremony in the late spring.

Morrison’s 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature marked the first time an African American woman received the award.  In her address to the Rutgers class of 2011, she said, “I know that happiness has been the real, if covert, goal of your labors here. I know that it informs your choice of companions, the profession you will enter, but I urge you, please don’t settle for happiness. It’s not good enough. Of course, you deserve it. But if that is all you have in mind—happiness—I want to suggest to you that personal success devoid of meaningfulness, free of a steady commitment to social justice, that’s more than a barren life, it is a trivial one. It’s looking good instead of doing good.”

In praising Dylan’s five decades of music, the White House noted his “considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s,” and highlighted his 11 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award and his  2009 National Medal of Arts.

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