art projects

Throwback Thursday: Content to Create, May 23, 2006

On throwback thursdays I am posting old posts from the blog I maintained from 2006-2009 titled A Black Girl. 

Here, I am working out some of the aesthetics of what began as a series of watercolors. I had no name for the project quite yet but I was out of the hospital and reaching towards artists who created, theories of the flesh from medical experiences. When I revealed some of these early water colors to my classmates in Elsa Barkley Brown’s course on Black Women and the Politics of Improvisation, they saw connections to Kahlo. I consider those connections here.

My current state of contentment has lead me to want to create a lot. I’ve expanded the torsion project into the three different works; I’ve been thinking about doing a visual project loosely related to the lynching artifacts project I’m doing that looks to the media and ad campaigns for images of “owning” black people. (Amp’d mobile is one of them.) Then the lynching scholarly project itself–I’m finding ways that I can incorporate my own creativity, and keep that part of my scholarship alive and vital.

Also, after looking (over and over again) at the dirty old man skirt expose… Guess what NEW ART series! I hadn’t expected, for example the image of Sarah Baartman to be so similar to one of my poses in the pictures… It was then that I realized that the project was worth more than pondering–but in need of serious exploring. After reading an essay on Aunt Jemima and corpulence in the Black community in Kimberly Wallace Sander’s Skin Deep Spirit Strong, I’ve decided that it might be worthwhile to discuss the Black communities relationship to corpulence to my own history of eating disorders.

I’m finding that my art is a lot more confessional than I would have expected it to be. But it actually feels right. I’m being political, but not dogmatic. I hate dogmatic art, and I want to bring this issues home. Even it its only in my chest. I guess this is where I am heavily influenced by Frida Kahlo. While some have actually compared my work aesthetically to hers (and I have to admit, there may be some influence there), what I admire about Kahlo as an artist is her ability to talk about her pain in a confessional yet political way. Her art is the prime example of how the personal is political. 

Kahlo’s body being ravaged in the trolley accident is proof within itself of the class issues that Mexico was facing (and still faces) at the time. Furthermore, the way in which she was injured…How she was rendered incapable of having children because of the handle bar that entered her vagina and exited through her hip–the way she highlighted the effects of that event in her life were also infused with how she saw the influence of capitalism, imperialism, and racism on the bodies of women (in Mexico and the U.S.) especially her own.

I dig that ability to see beyond the self, yet not negate the self. It’s important for scholars not to forget that. My creativity helps me to re-member.