(Atlanta) “With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith”

5 pictures captured while exploring “With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith” at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

The entire exhibition is housed in 4 rooms. Images 1-4 were photographed in the temporary exhibit room labeled the Tommie Smith Archives. Tommie Smith and wife Delois, are said to have amassed and archived thousands of artifacts related to his life and career. The High Museum currently has on display a selection of photographs, news clippings, awards, and other material culture.

The Tommie Smith Archives is dedicated to artifacts while the rest of the exhibit features the work of conceptual artist, Glenn Kaino. Each of Kaino’s designs are inspired by Tommie Smith, the living legend.

Image 1: commemorative item from 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Image 2: Published letter written by Shirley Graham DuBois, addressed to Tommie Smith. Mrs. DuBois was the wife of W.E.B. DuBois. The letter was printed with her permission in a publication entitled The Black Panther.

Image 3: Track and Field equipment.

Image 4: Tommie Smith achieving a world record title during his time at San Jose State University.

Image 5: The Bridge a conceptual piece created by Glenn Kaino. The 100 foot serpentine bridge is comprised of gold painted casts of Tommie Smith’s arm. There is a great amount of symbolism in this piece including it representing a “path connected to the past that leads forward to the present.”

With Drawn Arms: High Museum of Art, Atlanta

[photo courtesy of the Kavi Gupta Gallery/Glenn Kaino/High Museum of Art]

Visiting Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, next week. Going to check out “With Drawn Arms”

The temporary exhibit will be on view until February 3rd, 2019.

Have you seen it yet? Share your thoughts.

Theatre Review – “Nina Simone: Four Women” (Atlanta)

 

There was a stillness about the staged 16th Street Baptist Church in Nina Simone: Four Women. Arranged with piles of collapsed brick, cracked stained-glass windows, and split wooden beams, the set design positioned the play in the aftermath of the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. The play is written and composed by UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television graduate and current Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence Christina Ham, whose catalog includes over 15 compositions. In an interview with PopSugar Ham stated, “for me every month is Black History Month.” Ham demonstrates this ideology with the characters she’s developed for Nina Simone: Four Women – individual lives, interactions, and conversations provide a framework around the many intricacies of the civil rights movement and Simone’s shift from singer to artist-activist.

The curtain opens to the pre-recorded sounds of a crowd chanting “We want Nina! We want Nina!” revealing at a piano Regina Marie Williams, who plays the part of ”Nina Simone.” Williams appears to stroke the piano keys as she sings Simone’s “I Loves You Porgy.” A strong voice, Williams was an original member of gospel group Sounds of Blackness and has performed at the world-renowned Dakota Jazz Club. Still, it is not until Williams begins to speak and move about the stage that she demonstrates her skillful ability to adopt the mannerisms and accent needed to transform into the character of Nina Simone. Adrienne Reynolds, soon after, makes her way to the stage playing the part of ”Sarah.” The initial exchange between the two characters seems to move a bit slow, yet it provides biographical information on the life and career of Nina Simone. Just as the two begin to un-package the frustrations and trauma caused by occurrences in the Jim Crow South, in walks Wendy Fox Williams who plays the part of ”Sephronia.” A discussion on what it means to be black immediately ensues upon the fair-skinned woman’s arrival. The three share thoughts on skin tone, class, gender, and methods of protest. Any opportunity to sustain a divisive nature between the three is remedied by the arrival of Jordan Frazier, who plays the part of a prostitute named ”Sweet Thing.”

The set and actor performances work together to illustrate a feeling of brokenness. The set design is static with no significant changes throughout the show. Leaving it up to the characters and choreography to add motion to the storyline. Upon the stage, four women and the remnants of a 16th Street Baptist Church after the September 15th 1963 bombing, are comforted with a series of hymnals and civil rights anthems including “Brown Baby” and “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black.” Adorned in 1960s attire, each actress manifests the blackness described in the Nina Simone song, “Four Women.” The societal issues illustrated throughout the play were often times met with groans, head nods, and applause from the audience. In turn, the audience was able to witness a rendition of Simone’s boldness and determination to use her voice as an instrument for social change.

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company stated that their 16th season is dedicated to producing plays that demonstrate how individual “Moments Make the Movement.” Nina Simone: Four Women is a moment, an opportunity to examine black history and culture from the seat of a theatre chair.


Nina Simone: Four Women

Atlanta – Fulton County Southwest Arts Center

September 25 – October 21, 2018

 

Sistagraphy Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Exhibition at Auburn Avenue Research Library

Happy 25th Anniversary to Sistagraphy “The Collective of African-American Photographers”

Over 40 images from this group are currently on display at the Auburn Avenue Research Library (free and open to the public). This 25th Year celebration began in July 2018 and has public programming scheduled through to October 2018. Please note the exhibition @aarl_atl will be up through to September 23, 2018

Image 1: Photographer Sharon B. Dowell discusses her work during Sept 1, 2018 artist talk.

Image 2: “10 minutes after I cried…Oh! Sheila” by Stefaniyemiya Ingram-Hazell.

Image 3: Video of “Living Waters” by Grace Kisa.

Image 4: “Legendary Warrior” by Cynthia McCoy.

Image 5: “Sheroes- Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, Myrlie Evers Williams” by Susan Ross.

Image 6: “Civil Rights OG” by Ronya Hull Barksdale.

Image 7: Sistagraphy Exhibition banner

Atlanta’s APEX Museum – 40 Years and Still Going Strong

2018 marks the 40th Year Anniversary of Atlanta’s APEX (African-American Panoramic Experience) Museum

In early January, Daniel Moore, Sr. spent time sharing the experience he has had operating the APEX Museum since 1978.

Soundcloud Interview Highlights Include:

  • Why he founded the APEX Museum
  • How he has been able to sustain a career operating the APEX Museum
  • The types of exhibits the museum rotates
  • The social impact the museum has had on the local and African American community as a whole