Thursday, November 20, 2014

Images from "A Gathering of Black Women Artists" Day 2

A few images from day 2 of our exhibit "A Gathering of Black Women Artists." The exhibit featured works by  designers and photographers Erica Jones and Maria Lavender, photographer Paige Whitehead, painter Brittani Singleton, and textile designer Morgan Hill.

[Related: A Gathering of Black Women Artists Day 1]





Related:
Fall 2014 Public Programming

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mr. and Mrs. Young visit exhibit at Lovejoy Library

One of the rewarding aspects of organizing arts and humanities exhibits concerns the possibilities of drawing audiences that you may not always encounter. That was the case at our exhibit "A Gathering of Black Women Artists." Among the 125 attendees was a couple -- Mr. and Mrs. Young.

[Related: Images from "A Gathering of Black Women Artists"

They came to view the entire exhibit, but especially the works of their granddaughter Morgan Hill.  They marveled over the artwork and asked questions. They made observations. They snapped photographs. They constantly mentioned how proud they were of their granddaughter and how pleased they were to be here at the event.

And of course, I felt honored and pleased that they attended.

Morgan Hill welcomes her grandparents to the exhibit.



The Big Smoke: Rememory

[The Big Smoke reading group]  

Adrian Matejka's poem "Rememory" from The Big Smoke presents Jack Johnson at a different time and place, seemingly far from the ring. Johnson recalls an incident when a "horse back-kicked so hard / my leg bone broke, split my skin / like a lazy plum."

Through all we've been through with Johnson, this poem seems to present him a notably vulnerable way. But what did you think; how did you read or respond to the Johnson you encountered in "Rememory"? Why or how so?  

The Big Smoke: Ticket on the Titanic

[The Big Smoke reading group]  

Adrian Matejka's "Ticket on The Titanic" from The Big Smoke suggests that for once "the color line"actually worked in Jack Johnson's favor. Although he offered to pay the "$4,000 for each ticket" for himself and his partner Etta, the ship captain refused to allow Johnson's passage on the ship. Since Johnson did not board The Titanic when it sailed, he was on land when the mighty ship sank.

What thoughts concerning the "color line" came to mind as a result of reading this poem? Why or how so?  

Race and Outliers - epilogue

[Outliers Reading Group]

The epilogue at first appears to be the final presentation of a randomly selected and researched outlier. But we soon learn that the closing outlier narrative is in fact a narrative about the author, Malcolm Gladwell. We learn, perhaps not surprisingly at this point, that Gladwell’s own success emerges from the hidden advantages and multiple opportunities that his parents and grandparents received.

Among other important issues, Gladwell explains how light skin color allowed his otherwise disadvantaged black relatives to excel in ways that their fellow dark-skinned Jamaicans did not. Having an ancestor who had “a little bit of whiteness” or having one who got a chance at meaningful work became an “extraordinary advantage.” It was an advantage not simply based on working hard but rather on arbitrary yet powerful cultural and structural factors.

What stood out to you most concerning Gladwell’s discussions of skin color and advantage (or disadvantage)? Why?

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: "Author's Note"

[Behind the Beautiful Forevers]

In the “Author’s Note” of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo provides readers with her background and describes how she developed her passion for Annawadi. She details how she interviewed, surveyed, and interpreted the lives of each person highlighted in the book.

Boo writes “While I spent time in other slums for comparative purposes, I chose to focus on Annawadi for two reasons: because of the sense of possibility there, as wealth encroached on every side, and because its scale was small enough to allow door-to-door household surveys – the vagrant sociology approach. The surveys helped me start to differentiate between isolated problems and widely shared ones, like the disenfranchisement of Annawadi’s migrants and hijras” (407).

What idea from the "Author's Note" fascinated you most? Why or how so? Provide page citation please.

--Kacee Aldridge

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Images from "A Gathering of Black Women Artists"

Earlier today, we coordinated our exhibit "A Gathering of Black Women Artists." The exhibit featured works by  designers and photographers Erica Jones and Maria Lavender, photographer Paige Whitehead, painter Brittani Singleton, and textile designer Morgan Hill. What follows are photographs from day 1 of the exhibit.

[Related: Mr. and Mrs. Young visit exhibit at Lovejoy Library]




The Big Smoke Exhibit at Lovejoy (November 13)

On Thursday, November 13, at Lovejoy Library, we hosted one of our exhibits concentrating on The Big Smoke. We used our audio devices to listen to recordings of Adrian Matejka reading his poems as well as Jay Electronica performing some of his pieces.