Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Part of HMP's commemoration is acknowledging where we are now...

"Mauritania has officially abolished slavery three times -- once under French colonial rule, in 1905; at independence, in 1960; and again in 1980. Despite those edicts, slavery persists. No reliable statistics are available on the number of slaves, but estimates from human-rights groups range from the low thousands to more than 100,000. The U.S. State Department set the figure at 90,000 in 1994, its most recent estimate."

excerpted from, A Sociology Professor in Mauritania Fights Its Slave SystemBy DANIEL DEL CASTILLO

For the rest of this article see:

Lynn Estomin's Artistic Statement:

When I read Haiku #13, the words “hope lives in their DNA” kept looping in my head. The words wouldn’t go away so I knew I had to choose #13.

vomiting out life they are
cargo whose hope lives
in their DNA

Initially I played around with sketches of ship cargo holds lined with bodies layered with current photographs of descendants of slaves, but I wasn’t satisfied. What really interested me about this haiku was the idea of hope and resilience. As a mother, I was taken with the idea that what we begin, what we believe in, what we fight for, is carried on by out children and their children. So in the end I threw out the sketches and started adding DNA symbols as background, hair ornaments and toys to a collage of photographs of my daughter’s Washington, DC public school students.

Bio: Lynn Estomin

Lynn Estomin is a videographer, photographer and computer artist who has been producing art that speaks to social issues for over twenty years. Her award-winning video documentaries have been exhibited at film festivals internationally and broadcast nationally on PBS. Her still photography and digital images have been exhibited nationally in a dozen solo exhibitions and over 50 group exhibitions. Her work is part of numerous public and private collections. Estomin has received grants and fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Art Matters Inc., Cincinnati Commission on the Arts, Kodak Corporation, Ilford Corporation, Sony Corporation, SIGGRAPH, the Luce Foundation and Women's Film Project. Lynn Estomin is an Associate Professor and chair of the Art Department at Lycoming College in PA, where she teaches photography, and digital art.
Arron Ibn Pori Pitts' Artisic Statement:

my work comez from a luta continuua . . . the struggle continuez / in termz of being grounded in the experience of the afrikan diaspora / it’z an evolution and flowz az an improvisational polyrhythmic revolutionary black experience – a perspective that pealz away the racism / it haz become a procezz or mental memory song using the artz az a spirit that weavez and inter/intra – weavez
imagez and symbolz that can point to r improvised commuality of sharing and dialogue w/eachother / reaching out in celebration of the self and manifestation or remembrance of the creative corridor to the huewhamanistic harmony of being a member of the communal primal dance . . . it iz in essence a converging of the sacred and secular / r ability to open the door to the otherside – gain overstandin’and give back to the universe that which it haz given uz . . . being sanctified signaturez of incantationz beingz who bring forth a better life & society of beingz //ashe / asanta sana

raz baaba elder aaron ibn pori pitts
winter – 2007 / detroit, michigan

Sunday, July 29, 2007

HMP's Planned speaker for exhibit's Reception at Grand Rapids Community College, Wednesday, September 19, 2007:

Iyunolu Osagie

Osagie is Associate Professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University , where she teaches composition, African and African American literary theories, and Third World women's literatures. Her research focuses on Black diasporic/transnational studies, especially African and African American cultural memories, Third world women's intellectual response to Western feminisms, democracy in South Africa and Nigeria , and the revitalization of the Amistad revolt. Her book, The Amistad Revolt: Memory, Slavery, and the Politics of Identity in the United States and Sierra Leone ( Athens : University of Georgia Press , 2000), highlights the historical Amistad as contemporary cultural memory. She is a member of the University senate and is active in both departmental and college committees. She is also a member of the Executive Board of the Penn State American Women Writers Workshop. She holds a B. A. and M.A. from the University of Ife, Nigeria, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Less than 2 mos. until Haiku Middle Passage opens!
See it
Invite it
Experience it
Remembering the Crossings - Haiku Middle Passage a Commemorative Exhibit

September 10 - October 5, 2007 Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan
February, 2007 Holy Family University, Pennsylvania
Where should it go next?
If you asked, "Why should we remember the slave trade 200 years after its abolishment?"

About 27 million people and current slaves could give you at least one reason why it should be remembered and efforts to eradicate slavery should continue.

Don't believe this hype? Do an internet search using the keyword "modern day slavery" and in .12 seconds you'll receive over 1.9 million hits.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Melissa Selmon's Artistic Statement:

I have a great appreciation for poetry….so I didn’t think twice when I was presented the opportunity to be involved in this Haiku collaboration. After reading Haiku # 9 I’m very inspired to produce a piece that represents the pain and desire for freedom through the human form.

Bio: Melissa Selmon

I am 25 years old and born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. Graduated in 2004 with a B.A. Degree in Art and Design at Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI). I work with mostly charcoal and mixed media, particularly black and white. My major interest in my work deals with the relationship between emotions and children’s facial expressions. I feel that black and white media deepens the meanings in my work. There is something about the purity of children’s faces that intrigues me. I have been involved in numerous exhibits around the Grand Rapids area. My art work is on display at the Bayard Art Gallery of African American Art and The Peppermoon Art Gallery in Grand Rapids, MI. I’m the in the process of opening my own art gallery in the near future.
Michael Forrest’s Artistic Statement:

Upon reading Haiku #10, I was struck immediately and viscerally by the power-fully brutal imagery. Mothers killing their newborns is so antithetical to maternal instinct that I could not escape visions of the horrendous realities of confinement aboard slave ships like Angel. My contribution is an attempt to reify thoughts of those horrors, and the task requires visual imagery that conveys faithfully the force of the poetic imagery.

Creating this piece was traumatic for me, and I feared that my personal vision might result in a creation that seemed excessively or gratuitously lurid. It is my sincere hope that this piece synergizes with the powerful poetic imagery, and with the work of other collaborators, to serve as a solemn memorial to the madres and their niños — and all the other victims of vessels like Angel.

I hope also that my contribution imprints an indelible cautionary mark that will remind viewers that societal institutions dehumanize persons as they marginal-ize, neglect, and abuse people groups by regarding them as commodities or even by reducing them into memberships of discrete constituent “populations” in the service of political expediency. Institutions have no soul, no conscience, and cannot accept blame or responsibility. All individuals, however, are responsible to respect and promote the humanity of all other humans. I submit my work, there-fore, as a memorial and a challenge for each person to heed the ancient, wise admonition to “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”

My work is photographic. I implement digital capture, processing, and printing technologies to construct digital mixed media creations on fine art papers. The visual imagery in my creation is not intended to be particularly cryptic or ambigu-ous; the angelic icon has a dual role, representing good and evil forces. The chain represents bondage — bonds of maternal love and the condition of human bondage. To liberate their infants, mothers like “Eve” delivered them from the Angel… to the angels.

Bio: Michael Forrest, Ph.D.

As photographer, educator, and mental health professional, Michael Forrest inte-grates various domains of interest and expertise to promote holistic, humanistic, and harmonious intra-personal and inter-personal functioning.

With a B.S. in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology, Dr. Forrest has been an award-winning illustrative photographer, creating images for na-tional and international advertising and editorial clients. His current fine art work is sold in commercial galleries, is exhibited in juried events, and his documentary work is found in the Library of Congress. He has extensive experience teaching undergraduate and graduate photography students.

Since earning an M.A. in Counseling (Cornerstone University) and a Ph.D. (Trin-ity Theological Seminary), Michael practices counseling and psychotherapy, fa-cilitating people’s effective, authentic, and enthusiastic interaction with others and the world they share. Additionally, he teaches behavioral science courses to un-dergraduate and graduate students. His research interests include counseling philosophy, human creativity, and art therapy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

61 days and counting until the Haiku Middle Passage exhibit opens!