Sunday, October 30, 2016

See America First

In the midst of an over long political campaign we have to seek beauty and comfort where we can.  So I have been seeing more of America.  In September I had an opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American of History Culture in Washington,D.C.  I also got a peek of POTUS's motorcade arriving at the museum for the opening ceremony.  Three presidents were there for the opening. We visitors could not have asked for a more beautiful weekend for the opening.  I even went live on Facebook the day before the opening to share my thoughts about being there.  The Mall was full of folks and I was glad to be in the mi.

As for the museum, the building is beautiful inside and out.  The exhibits are vast and it will take several visits to fully take it all in.  However, my travel companion and I did our best during our Sunday, marathon 12 hour visit.  One memorable moment included looking at the segregated train car and the lunch counter where people protested segregation.  I was walking between the 2 exhibits and I heard a young man say "hey".  I asked, "do I know you?'  He said "no but you looked like you need to be brought back from wherever you were."  So I was reminded of the pain of Jim Crow and how resilient we are.   I cannot imagine what my face would have looked like if I had been able to see the Emmett Tilll exhibit.   The lines were very long so that I will have to see it another time.

On a less somber note I enjoyed learning about communities around the country that I never heard of when I was younger.  For example, there was Oak Bluffs, a vacation community south of Martha's Vineyard where African American spent summers.  I never even thought about that part of the country when I was young.  But the excitement of life is to learn new things and explore new places.  Maybe I will get to visit the area in the future.

The weather made the trip to Washington, DC so much nicer than when I went in January 2009 for the inauguration.  It was very cold then and the masses made me feel faint.  But wonderful fall weather prevailed and the temperatures were just right for walking around.  I still need to be walking to wear off the yummy lump crab cakes.

Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.

If you plan to visit be sure to get your tickets before.  The museum is already insuring tickets for January.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

So This Is 70!

Reaching 70 years of age was unimaginable when I helped my mother celebrate her 70th birthday but now that I am here it is a totally rewarding time to be alive.  I began to see the subtle changes  4-8 years ago when my hair became thinner and whiter.  Do I dare mention my double chin and sagging neck. What about the wrinkles in my finger tips.  I noticed that change when I went to get finger printed and the technician couldn't get a good print because of the puckers.  She said that often happens with older people.  Who was she calling "old".  What about the news reports that describe some woman as elderly when she was 65.  I like getting my social security check but wait a minute on the elderly woman name calling.

This image was taken last week when I went to mail my ballot.  We had better party while we can as life is full of uncertainty.

But I digress, yesterday I began moving toward a new decade with more memories and art.  I watched a video of Great Performances on PBS about "Hamilton".  I look forward to seeing it in spring when it comes to San Francisco.  I will have to be diligent to get a ticket I am sure.  I thoroughly enjoyed being lazy and eating carrot cupcakes.  Yum.  I forgot to drink the Proseco that I bought but I will make up for it today.  I planted flowers in pots on our patio.  I am returning to gardening this year as meditation.

But mainly I am enjoying the idea of staying true to myself and the art projects that I really want to create.  It is a beautiful life as  I look back and I look forward.

As for art, hope you enjoy these works that were on display at Firehouse Art Center, Pleasanton, CA from mid September until mid-October.  The exhibit was inconjunction with Cheza Nami Foundation Africa Festival.

                                          Homeland 2 and To Market

                                          Bourbon Street Blues

African Abstract

                                         Holes in the African Rain Forest

                                         Mask Parade 2 and 3

Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Longing for Africa

In the midst of this presidential campaign I am diverting and energizing myself with memory.  Two years ago I achieved a lifetime goal of going to Africa.  There was something wonderful and warming when I set foot on African soil.  Even the very long flight could not diminish the excitement of this coming and emotional returning to an unknown place.  There was so much to see and take in.  I could only have wished for more involvement with the people.  My roommate and I were very aware that we were the "rich" Americans.  One worker in the convention hall where quilts were exhibited said to  her, "take me home with you".  She asked why and he said "because you are rich in America."  We were the rich Americans.  Of course, we are rich because we had the money to travel to this far away place, stay in a good hotel, eat various foods, and see how others live.  It made us think and I still think about the opportunities available to me as an American.

But the wonderfulness of the trip remains with me today 2 years later and here are some of the scenes from the past.

Big Tree in Zimbabwe

Bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia

Rainbow near the falls

                                          Victoria Falls

                                          Plants in Victoria Falls Park

Lushness everywhere and monkeys too.  

It was like being in a rain shower

I spent my last 3 days of my trip in Zimbabwe

What a ride

Early morning tea.

Approaching elephants

Dinner on the Zambezi River, what a wonderful sunset.

Hopefully I will begin making art about this adventure. Stay tuned as I get my groove back.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

On the Road

Well all of you know how negligent I have been about keeping up to date.  But with the fast approach of a new decade of life I vowed to get busy.  So here's what has been happening.

This year I curated Neighborhoods Coming Together: Quilts Around Oakland.  The exhibit had over 60 quilts that were presented in several venues including Oakland City Hall, Laney College Library, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Alameda County Administration Building,  Women's Cancer Resource Center, Highland Hospital and California Humanities Gallery. Along with the exhibitions, guild members and I taught workshops around the city to community members of all ages.  You can see the quilts at the guild website,

African American Quilt Guild of Oakland

See the Oakland Quilt Project tab.

This NY Times article also tells about the project.  Patti Brown really brought attention to the project with this article.  Thanks Patti.

New York Times Article

See you next time.