Poem: If We Must Die – Claude Mckay

If we must die—let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Poem by Claude Mckay, from the book “Poetry of the Negro 1746-1970″ edited by Langson Huges and Arna Bontemps

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Poem: To Vanity – Darwin T. Turner

Doll, don’t be too proud of those eyes
Sparkling in their mascaraed skies;
Don’t be too vain that you now see
All hearts your captives; your still free;
And stop shaking that lustrous hair
And shedding dandruff on the air.
‘Cause that buck-nineteen rhinestone, dear,
That glitters from your pearlshell ear,
Will still be thought a pretty gem
When all your world of beauty’s dim.

Poem by Darwin T. Turner, from the book “Poetry of the Negro 1746-1970″ edited by Langson Huges and Arna Bontemps

Poem: I’ve Got A Home In That Rock – Raymond R. Patterson

I had an uncle, once, who kept a rock in his pocket–
Always did, up to the day he died.
And as far as I know, that rock is still with him,
Holding down some dust of his thighbone.

From Mississippi he’d got that rock, he’d say—
Or, sometimes, from Tennessee: a different place each time
He told it, how he’d picked it up when he first left home—
Running, he’d say—to remind him when times got hard
Enough to make him homesick, what home was really like.

Poem by Raymond R. Patterson, from the book “Poetry of the Negro 1746-1970” edited by Langson Huges and Arna Bontemps

Sam Taylor-wood “Crying Men”

I was in the library today and I came across this artist’s book by Sam Taylor Wood called “Crying Me”. The title and the image on the front of Hayden Christensen, drew me to look inside the book. Inside was a wide variety of actors all crying or looking sad, it was amazing to see so much well known actors in the book. I’m quite surprised that I haven’t heard of it before. It’s really interesting because you see all these men crying, letting their emotions out… yet you can’t help but wonder are they acting?

Anyway it got me thinking about my own work and how I too have images of “emotions” (which I prefer to call it as it is not just about crying). This work is so close to mine yet I find it more interesting to look at. Ignoring that all the men are known celebrities, the images would still naturally stand out to me even if they were the average men.

I know the world is a big place and no one can really have an original idea anymore, but I really would’ve liked to have had a piece of work that is not the same as someone else. I feel now with my “emotions” piece that I’m now going to be considered not original even though I thought of the idea myself…I’m  being ridiculous  because looking at other artists works is beneficial to another’s work to help them improve and to help not make the same mistakes as the artists before.

Here are some of my images. Click on the image to see more of this particular art work or click here to see all my completed artwork.

(the images look different here to the link as I am in the process of changing the brightness and contrast of some of my images because they are too dark.)

Here are some images from the book.

Actors from top to bottom: Daniel Craig, Tim Roth, Hayden Christensen and Robin Williams.

Furnishing Dolls’ Houses

I borrowed a book about Doll’s houses at my library today. I haven’t had much chance reading it as I’ve been so busy, but its a book writing in 1972 and is called “Furnishing Dolls Houses” by Audrey Johnson. It shows pictures of what dolls houses looked like throughout the decades finishing at 1970. It has plans of how to make table, beds, and chairs, which I think I might tackle a bit later on.

I found a great picture of the book on the internet, its the book on the far right.

The effects of slavery

I am sitting here reading Inside Babylon by Winston James and Clive Harris as extra information on black peoples lives and experiences in Britain. The particular section that I’m reading from is the chapter Migration, racism and identity formation: The Caribbean experience in Britain. This section is about the West Indian migration to Britain and what their lives and experience were like.

The author started off first by talking about slavery, as the effects from slavery (within black identity) is one of the things that still evident in black people today.
Some points that I found interesting which doesn’t necessarily have to do with my art work but is still important is the effects of colonisation.
A short passage which was originally quoted by Walter Rodney in 1968 stated:
 

West Indians of every colour still aspire to European standards of dress and beauty. The language which is used by black people in describing ourselves shows how we despise our African appearance. ‘Good hair’ means European hair, ‘good nose’ means a straight nose, ‘good complexion’ means a light complexion. Everybody recognizes how incongruous and ridiculous such terms are, but we continue to use them and express our support of the assumption that white Europeans have a monopoly of beauty, and that black is the incarnation of ugliness. This is why Black Power advocates find it necessary to assert that BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL.

 

This extract spoken in 1968 still reflects the Caribbean mentally today. I remember at school the non-white girls who had the long hair and the lighter skin, were told they were beautiful, by the black girls who wished that they too could resemble them. These girls were also put on a higher pedestal to any of the black girls.
This particular mentality stems from slavery where the white slave owner would treat each slave differently due to the shade of the skin. As Winston James said; 

“…a complex hierarchy of human shades, what one prominent Caribbeanist has aptly called a ‘multilayered pigmentocracy’,…evolved wherein those who approximated most closely to the European type (in terms of hair texture, skin colour, facial characteristics, etc.) were accorded high status…and those deemed to have been without, or with few such characteristics, were likewise relegated to the bottom of the social hierarchy. Thus the ‘coloureds’ (the so-called ‘mulattoes’) -offspring of the union of Europeans (almost invariably men) and African (almost invariably women) – were regarded as congenitally superior to ‘pure Africans’ and moreover, were treated as such.”

 

It is sad to say that it is clear that the effects of slavery are still with us today.
I can’t wait to read on further to find out and understand more on this situation.

Black Britain

I borrowed a few books from the library to do with African and West Indian’s immigration and life in Britain. I am really looking forward to reading about this as throughout my schooling years I have never been taught anything about the experiences and events that happened during 1940-1970(even later than this date). Only receiving a brief outline from the older generations of my family years ago. The only black history I learnt about was from America, and even that was brief. It usually came up in October the one time of the year we were only taught about black history.

The books I will be reading are;
>Changing Britannia: Life experience with Britain edited by Roxy Harris and Sarah White
>Inside Babylon: The Caribbean diaspora in Britain edited by Winston James and Clive Harris

A day of scanning

Yesterday I was super busy scanning in interior design photographs from books in my university library. This was mainly for research but I also considered that if I couldn’t find suitable locations for my photographs, I should make a sort of collage and photoshop my family members into the image. I personally like to have everything in my images to be my own, but for this project to pick up speed and go somewhere I need to try new things out. 

Some of the images I found, looked like rooms from a show house. I want that mug of tea on the table, the cushions not plumped in there usual position and the beds not perfectly made. I need identity that someone actually lives there and it isn’t a show house.

I may have to scan them in a high quality because if these photographs are going to be enlarged, I do not want the low pixels to prevent me from doing this.
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