hey rochester, follow frederick douglass’s lead and vote for rajesh barnabas. he speaks truth to power and has solid ideas about how to implement much needed change. vote for rajesh, vote for the people’s slate.
for the first time since we moved here, a little over a year ago, we met with a group of people. went on a ‘healing hike’ with the long island progressive coalition to uplands preserve, cold spring harbor, new york. so incredibly beautiful! spent 3 hours discovering how milkweed attracts monarch butterflies, what poison ivy looks like, how the white flowered mountain laurel is difficult to move or transplant on account of its sensitivity to soil chemistry, the subtle perfume of the multiflora rose (a climbing, rambling shrub), how woodpeckers communicate with one another, how the tulip poplar (also called tulip tree) is neither tulip nor poplar but closely related to magnolia trees, and how the american chestnut is super susceptible to chestnut blight, a fungus introduced to north america in the early 1900s which reduced the great american chestnut forests to a simple sucker sprout population that rarely produces any chestnuts. v cool to meet other activists as well – especially nia adams who traveled to rochester during the daniel prude uprising and knew all the brilliant women involved with free the people rochester. it was 81 F but we spent most of our time in fragrant shaded woods so didn’t really feel the heat.
got my second dose of the pfizer vaccine at jones beach today. not a bad place to get shots:) huge parking lots, large makeshift tents, the national guard guiding traffic and making everything go smoothly, nurses giving people shots inside their cars (u never step out of ur vehicle), people looking out for u while u wait 15 min to make sure u don’t have a reaction, and then u drive away. they have the capacity to vaccinate 5000 people per day. and then there’s the atlantic ocean. grateful.
“We refuse to acknowledge the separation of the museum from the rest of society,” the group says. “We see MoMA as existing on the same plane as the violence of the ruling class that has controlled it…As MoMA winds down and we extract our imagination from its orbit, our energies, resources and labor power will be freed up for creating alternatives in its place,” the group adds. “Alternatives controlled by workers and communities, not billionaires and their enablers. This could be a first step for a city-wide process.” — yes, please! More here.
o’grady’s iconic ‘miscegenated family album’ (1980/1994) consisting of 16 diptychs of photographs that compare her sister devonia’s family to that of nefertiti, is displayed right in the middle of the museums’s egyptian art gallery. the title of this work reclaims the pejorative term “miscegenation.” here’s some background on the series:
‘When the Boston-born, New York–based artist Lorraine O’Grady (born 1934) visited Egypt in her 20s, two years after the unexpected death of her sister, she found herself surrounded for the first time by people who looked like her. While walking the streets of Cairo, the loss of her only sibling, Devonia, became confounded with the image of “a larger family gained.” Upon returning to the US, O’Grady began painstaking research on ancient Egypt, particularly the Amarna period of Nefertiti and Akhenaton, finding narrative and visual resemblances between their family and her own.’
spent wednesday at the @brooklynmuseum to see lorraine o’grady’s ‘both/and’ and loved it. both/and represents o’grady’s refusal to kowtow to binaries and western ‘either/or’ thinking. she challenges white-centered art history and how ‘museums enforce both literal and conceptual segregation in the art world.’ in line with this thinking, the brooklyn museum has displayed o’grady’s art throughout their galleries, ‘revealing her critical interventions in these dominant histories.’ so for example, her ‘announcement of a new persona,’ with its lush, large size, staged photographic prints, is mixed together with rodin’s expressive, muscular sculptures. makes complete sense. one work elevates the other, divulging emotions and details one might have missed otherwise.
i had been feeling blue for a while. it’s hard to be homebound and work on one’s computer all day, every day. so today, i turned on the music, loud, on my wonderboom, and cleaned the whole apartment. there is something deeply satisfying about being in motion and scrubbing. isn’t cleanliness next to godliness:)
then i put on my snow boots and drove to #lakeronkonkoma. i had no idea if it would be walkabale or not, with all the snow on the ground. lake #ronkonkoma is about 10 min from where we live. it’s the largest and deepest lake in #longisland – 92 feet at its deepest. the indigenous people of this land considered it a bottomless lake, so sacred that they wouldn’t fish in its waters. but they did perform wonderful ceremonies all around it.
i have always, since day one, felt a deep connection to lake ronkonkoma. there is something unreal about the blue of its waters and the translucent light and sky above them.
the lake was particularly moving this afternoon. the sky striated with shades of blue, grey, light-filled yellow and gentle purple hues. something delicate and liquid. the lake covered with ice. still, white, expansive. i walked in the snow and learned to keep my balance, held by the enchanting beauty around me. my eyes rejoiced.
in urdu, there is this expression ‘aankhoon ki thandak’ – the coolness of one’s eyes. those we love give us pleasure, when our eyes behold them, they provide cool relief to tired eyes. i kept thinking of this expression. my eyes too felt relaxed, not just because of the cold weather but because of the serenity the lake offered so generously.
i know all our situations are different, but if u can, go outside, walk in the snow and feel connected to the world.
why i came to nyc: stunning work by salman toor, born in lahore, at the whitney. his first solo exhibition: stories of queer brown men as they negotiate the distance between new york and pakistan. the expressive faces and hands in his paintings are exceptionally rendered. so many things that strike one as immediately recognizable – the turn of a head whilst sitting down for tea, the passive acceptance of extra security checks at customs and immigration, the anxiety of being questioned by pakistani cops when on a date, etc. am still here. still discovering. . whitneymuseum #salmantoor #lahore #pakistan #newyork #newyorkcity #art #figurativepainting #oilpainting #queerbrown
hey friends, i am now working on Cinema Palestine with Jewish Voice for Peace-NYC. this film festival will be part of JVP’s national programming and is slated to start next year. now that everything is online, pls join this group and keep track of what we are creating together.