Changing of Trees

 

I came home last Saturday. It was wonderful to see the nieces and nephews, family and friends. I always treasure putting away that last t-shirt or skirt from the suitcase and knowing, that for a little while, I am in a familiar place. New York…I love it. I will definitely go back again and stay longer.  But it  is always wonderful to come home.

After two weeks of walking around Brooklyn, I decided to come home and "smell the roses." I've been taking walks around town, seeing things that were a blur or invisible to me just a few weeks ago. One thing that caught my eye was this tree, changing colors; getting ready to go through a winter and bloom again with the summer sun. 

It is a beautiful tree and so is the world when you stop to really take a look at it.  I hope that my sight stays clear when i return back to work and my other things.

Starting My Sketchbook

Now that I have put to bed some projects, I am going to have a lot of fun starting my Detroit100 Sketchbook. The next few weeks, I will share some of my pages here. I hope that you all that are working on sketchboooks right now feel free to share your progress too!

Honoring

On my last day in New York, I decided to stay in Lower Manhattan and visit two sacred grounds. One was the African Burial Grounds on Broadway and the other was the 9/11 Memorial.

One of the young ladies that I was renting my room from told me about the African Burial Grounds. In this space are over 400 remains of slaves. This burial ground was forgotten for hundreds of years until 1991, when a federal building was under construction and during the digging of the foundation, remains were found. After so many years, these people who were forgotten and lost were remembered by a mounument and sacred rituals to once again them back to rest in a respectful manner. These are the people who built this wonderful city of New York. They deserved this monument and much more.


After visiting the African Burial Grounds, I walked over and visited the 9/11 Memorial. I have not seen anything so beautiful and so sad at the same time. I had some mixed emotions looking at the people around me. Some were taking pictures with their loved ones, smiling and posing as though what happend on these grounds was not so very tragic. I also felt spiritually moved by these large fountains that flowed, cleansing and healing this space of the tragedy that none of us will forget. The water; that was something that both the African Burial Grounds and 9/11 Memorial had in common. 




I, as an African Diaspora and as an American have the life I have because of those before me and those who gave up their lives for us.

The Dinner Party

I finally got to the Brooklyn Museum. I had several chances to go to the museum earlier in my trip, but I wanted to take my time when I got there, so I waited until the night they were open until 10 PM to go. Brooklyn has a great collection and I enjoyed all of it. I went floor to floor. 1st floor, 2nd floor, 3rd floor. You get it. When I made it on the the fourth floor, I saw a collection of female art. I walked in and was stopped in my tracks. "Oh my God, The Dinner Party." I had no clue it was part of the Brooklyn Museum's collection.

As a female artist, The Dinner Party is a piece that I honor. It was created by Judy Chicago. It calls up our ancestral power, our mythical power, our creative power as well as a feminine power. You walk into this place and feel that it is sacred.  I stopped at each plate and thank these women for their place in our history (be it real or mythical). True art does exactly what this piece did for me. If I did not get to do or see anything else in Brooklyn, I would have been fine with it.




The A Train

What makes New York such a great city and a working city is its transportation. It is affordable and it can get anyone to any part of New York. I think that once Detroit puts money into its public transportation system, the greatness that I have experienced and others know exist will become more obvious.

There are several trains in New York, but during my visit, my train was the A Train.Thank you A Train for connecting me to so many parts of New York.

New York Resturants

 

Life is kind of on-the-go here, so it is normal to see people walking around eating. Many of the restaurants are really set up for people to get their food on the go, not to really stick around. But, there are some that have the door open and say, "come on in." I am not a foodie, so I did not have a list of places that I wanted to partake of ambience food. I do like great ambiance and there were a few places that gave me that during my NY stay.

NOTE: Most of these are in Bed Stuy since that is where I stayed:


Remember, I am not a foodie and I watched my budget pretty carefully while on my trip, so this doesn't even touch the food experience that you could have in Brooklyn, believe me. But, if you are in Bed Stuy (Brooklyn) and are looking for chilled, warm, colorful places with wonderful people and even good music, try any of these. They are a great introduction to Brooklyn life and people.

 

 

New York Graffiti

New York and Detroit have a few things in common. One in particular is our love/hate relationship with graffiti. Many Detroiters find some of our graffiti to be works of art and some artist have actually brought value back to some areas of our city because of the artistic beauty their art creates. But there are some people who are out there in our city tagging and defacing and just destroying the beauty of our city with their graffiti destruction. As an artist, I walk that love/hate road and wish it would sometimes be more clear for me. But that brings up the question, isn't its controversy a reason why it is an artform?

Moving on. While I was on my search for a the Biggie Smalls mural, I came across a lot of other pieces and wanted to share them with you. Here is a little taste of some New York Graffiti:



Looking for Biggie

Since my brother couldn't come with me to NY, I told him I would find the Biggie Smalls murals he so wanted to see. Here is the picture of it that we found on Flikr:

After a little bit of searchinb and research, I learned that this mural doesn't exist anymore. It was in Queens and has  been painted over years ago. My brother and I were kinda sad about it. But, but! I did find this gem of a mural that neither of us knew exisited.

This mural is in the Lafayette area near Fort Green. Some people don't like it because it looks a little like the Che Guevara, but it was a great suprise for me. Maybe I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, but you can always find something in New York.