Monday, February 3, 2014

Twitter Art Exhibit: Orlando

I tweet.

A lot.

A lot a lot.

Okay, I don't tweet nearly as much as some, but definitely more than others. I read my tweet stream often; that's where I learn about (at least initially) a lot of the themes that show up in my work. It is also where I learned about the #TwitterArtExhibit. This year--the show's fourth--is in Orlando, Florida, and the sales of the postcard sized works entered will benefit the Special Needs Dance Programs of the Center for Contemporary Dance.

I think I first learned of this last year. I remember enquiring about the deadline, and (almost as promptly) letting it pass by. I don't know why making such a small work was met in my mind with so much resistance, but it was. This year, I had been seeing quite a few Orlando-bound works in my Twitter feed, but it wasn't until very recently that I sat down and started to sketch something out.

*  *  *
"I stay 'woke." 

The above is a slang phrase used sometimes, when someone wishes to let others know that they are always paying attention, guarded, observant, vigilant, with a response at the ready.  Someone that "stays 'woke" has their own ideas and opinions about everything they see and never blindly accepts the narrative given by those in authority. They aren't hesitant to make those opinions known to all who might listen. If I had to guess the origin of the phrase I would pin it to the final scenes of the 1988 Spike Lee film "School Daze":

Quite a few of the film's characters were literally waking up as they gathered outside in pajamas and nightgowns around Dap (Laurence Fishburne) as he yelled and rang a shrill, piercing bell. Dap wanted his peers to be aware and take notice of all that was going on around them, both in the world at large and the microcosm of that world in which the film was set, a HBCU (Historically Black College/University) campus in the late 1980s. The film ends as Fishburne gazes directly at the camera and says in a quieter, slightly pleading voice directly to the viewer, "Please. Wake up."

"Please. Wake up."

And so she is. Facing the viewer but not seeing them, she stretches, rubbing sleep from her eyes. It is morning, because she dared to see.

Morning (When I Dared to See)
gouache and graphite on paper


Post a Comment