Thursday, June 28, 2012

it's a small small world

I was about to post that only in New England could one hike to the top of Bromley Mountain and discuss Afro-futerism and Sanford Biggers installation work The Cartographer's Conundrum at Mass MOCA--but then I realized that my DH and I were speaking with a young man who had started the through hike of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and was headed for Mt. Katahdin in Maine.

Of course I loved the original piece by Sanford Biggers cousin--John Biggers. How could I not? It is about quilts and their significance to the African American community. It turns out John Biggers was one of the first African American to receive a UNESCO grant  to travel to Africa and study the many patterns and designs there. His cousin Sanford decided to learn more about John by following the travels that John did and trying to understand them. The term Afro-futurism was coined to describe this incorporation of African patterns into contemporary American art.  There is also a link to technology and music. So much there and so much I don't know, my mind spins with the possibilities.  But of course you don't even have to know this background to love this mural by John. So rich in color and emotion it haunts me even though it also humbles me with my ignorance.

I also loved how the younger Biggers took this image and the feelings of being uplifted and translated them into an installation piece that filled the entire HUGE room at Mass MOCA.  To my mind the very act of its visualization and actual creation was fascinating. One could walk through the installation getting closer and closer to the music and the joy that you could almost feel as the pews rose into the heavens. There were patterns of tiles on the floor. Broken stars of glass leading the way. Worn musical instruments providing a path to the end of the hall with the pews rising and the focus on a large melange of worn fragments of musical instruments and memories.

Then the video upstairs put lots of these feelings and the diaspora from Africa together in a manner that I had not entirely realized until I was on top of Bromley. Funny how things work sometimes isn't it? Now I want to see the show again. It runs through the end of October.  For more information  check out:

Have you seen this show? What do you think? Don't you love it when a chance conversation can help enlighten you?

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