#1136 Smudge

9×12 Pen & Ink
#1136 Smudg
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Member:  DVAA-Da Vinci Art Alliance. Building community through art. My artworks are featured on my DVAA Member Profile: https://davinciartalliance.org/willard-johnson

#1135 Scribble No. 3

9×12 Pen & Ink
#1135 Scribble No 3
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Member:  DVAA-Da Vinci Art Alliance. Building community through art. My artworks are featured on my DVAA Member Profile: https://davinciartalliance.org/willard-johnson

#1134 Scribbly Mess

9×12 Pen & Ink. Watercolor. What else to do, with no canvas to paint. Art supplies closed. Waiting for Death at the door.
#1134
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Member:  DVAA-Da Vinci Art Alliance. Building community through art. My artworks are featured on my DVAA Member Profile: https://davinciartalliance.org/willard-johnson

Covid-19 March 17 #1131

I keep working on this… it’s evolving with the pandemic
1131 3-18
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Member:  DVAA-Da Vinci Art Alliance. Building community through art. My artworks are featured on my DVAA Member Profile: https://davinciartalliance.org/willard-johnson

#1131 Pandemic 2020 (some reworking)

30×21″ Oil on canvas
#1131
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

Member:  DVAA-Da Vinci Art Alliance. Building community through art. My artworks are featured on my DVAA Member Profile: https://davinciartalliance.org/willard-johnson

Covid-19 and the End of the Anthropocene

IMG_0726

The covid-19 virus is going to teach us some lessons about what the end of the Anthropocene means. A harsh and cruel lesson, made all the more cruel by those who resist more strongly accepting that humans do not stand above and apart from all other life– are not, never have been, and never will be, rulers on or of the earth, but common citizens with trees and birds, insects and rocks and all the micro-organisms that make up even our own bodies.

BOOMERS….

Image result for Photo Birmingham civil rights memorial

rest in peace ..

Some by birth, were born before 1946–but all died as martyrs and warriors of Justice in that generation… and many, many more…

Jimme Lee Stephen JacksonRev James Reeb, Viola Liuzzo Jonathan Daniels (1965). Rev. George Lee, Lamar Smith, Emmitt Till, John Earl Reece (1955) , Wilie Edwards Jr (1951), Mack Charles Parker (1959, Herbert Lee (1961), col. Roman Duckworth Jr, Paul Guihard (1962), Wiliam Lewis Moore, Medgar Evers, Addie May Collins, Carol Robertson, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley , Virgil Lamar Ware (1963) Louis allen, JohnnieMae Chappel, Rev Bruce Klunder Henry Hezekia Dee, Charles Eddie Moore, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Henry Schwerner, Lt. Col. Lemuel Penn (1964), Oncal Moore, Willie Brewster,Jonathan Myrick Daniesl (1965), Samuel Leamar Younge Jr, VernonFerdinand Dahmer, Ben Chester White, Clarence TGriggs, James Meredith, (1966), Wharlest Jockson, Benjamin Brown (1967), Mary Ann Vecchio,
Samuel Ephesians Hammond Jr, Delano Herman Middleton, Henry Ezekiel Smith, Martin Luther King (1968), Yvonne Oakes, Jeffry Green Miller (1970), Allison B. Krouse, Wiliam Knox Schroeder, Sandra Lee Scheuer, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, James Earl Green.
——-
And let us not forget the thousands of ACT UP warriors who died fighting, and fought while dying…
—–
Mumia abu Jamal, Leonard Peltier –and the thousands of Political prisoners still in cages FREE THEM ALL!

Tell me, who deserves to be remembered, as the true representatives of a generation?

Thinking of last things…

#477 ArtFinder seated figure.JPG

I’ve been thinking about dying. Listening to myself breath, with more than usual effort.  Listening–thinking about dying–I ask myself–if it were only to begin something–what would I like to do before I die?

I feel inside this question, another one, in hiding. Another question wrapped in the first

What is it I have wanted, and not found?

What has been missing for me, that it took me so long to begin doing what I have felt was my real calling, and which, even now–the lack, speaks back to me, but this time in a form I’m beginning to recognize.

If only there had been someone to listen…
_____________________

What if we were to make together, a circle (or circles) of Elders and Mentors for artists–poets? — certainly not an organization, not quite a movement–though that would come closer–especially for creative fields that don’t now have this as a more natural part of their development (I’m thinking of dancers, or musicians–poets sometimes find this). But for these too–I can imagine such a mentoring. I ask myself: what would it be? What do I feel, might have made my life … more true?

What would these mentors, do?

Listen!

That’s what comes to mind, and everything else shapes itself around that. Listen. Not teach. To encourage, yes, but out of a deep listening that hears what the younger artist may not yet hear themselves. Mentors who would be there for the artist to speak to — from the heart–to tell about what they want to do, hope for themselves, what they are perhaps least sure of–or most anxious about how they will be received in the world.

Listen!

Not judge.

Not advise.

Not teach.

Not pretend to know better than the younger artist, what they want for themselves. To listen in confidence to the their most daring ideas, what they are most confident–or most anxious– about.

Listen!

To them talk about their work In the conviction that in being heard, we hear most clearly–our own voice, see most clearly our own, deepest vision. And return, more ready to present the gift that is ours alone–whether created alone, or in collaboration, the gift that is ours to leave the world on our parting.

Imagination Shall Make us Free

Surreal, Death, Desert, Dark, Prison
from 2014, on my old blog

Friday, December 19, 2014
Imagination Shall Make Us Free!

In a Facebook post, Nyle Fort, wrote of the difficulty of seeing past the neoliberal simulacra to find what is real. Maybe it helps to see this, not as binary opposites, but different *kinds* of real. In the way a fictional character is real, *as* a fictional character– which nonetheless has real generative effects.
The spectacle, too, is real, but a reality whose generative effects impair both thought and perception in such a way that we cannot see past the simulacra, or imagine, while in its thrall, another kind of reality. That suggests to me, that the way to another reality–one we can inhabit in the fullness of our human being–is not like breaking through a curtain to something that lies there, already existing, on the other side, but in the very power of imagination on which the illusion depends, that our hope lies in knowing that that power is immeasurably greater than what has been drawn on by the oppressive system holding us hostage. Like in the Faerie Queene–the flames surrounding Busirane’s castle, real enough to burn Scudamore–because he believes they are the wrong kind of real, a reality over which he has no power, while Britomart walks through them unscathed. It’s our collective belief in the simulacra that makes it ‘real’ — that is, gives it power to generate effects–in that way, challenging collective beliefs is the very essence of the work of the imagination.
We do not dance as relief from fighting oppression; we dance, because out of the dance, come the flames of passion that will burn the citadels of our oppressors. We do not sing or paint or rap or create stories to escape from one illusion to another–but TO IMAGINE THE REAL WE DESIRE, THAT WE MIGHT CREATE IT AND MAKE IT SO!

Thinking about being Hard of Hearing

Image result for image of audiograph
I went to an audiologist this afternoon. This is what I’ve been thinking.

 

Deaf,” and “Hard of Hearing”, are not medical terms. There is no line on the audiogram to mark where one ends and the other begins. 1500 Hz and higher, I fall into the “moderately severe” range. Lower frequencies, mild to moderate loss.

… but how does that translate as experience? Complicting this: deaf, and HoH are not measurments, but places you occupy on different social scales–in effect, Identites.

And Deaf, with a capital ‘D’ designates a culture, as distinguished from just… deaf. Which means, you hear little or nothing… not fluent in Sign… and exist somewhere outside of both worlds: Hearing and Deaf.

Deaf, capital ‘D’ I should add, can include people with normal hearing. CODAs, for instance: Children of Deaf adults. This is not line and symbols on an audiograph.

Oh yes–deaf, or Deaf, is not the absense of sound. There are degrees of sound reception, and very few who are ‘deaf’, measure out at ZERO receptive hearing.

So what then, is HoH? More like… the degree to which you don’t belong?

To which, you don’t belong to the Hearing World, with all the expectations and privilege and bias that go along with that?

About, privilege, isn’t it?

Understanding “privilege,” is so helpful in getting this–getting, that it’s not a measurment on the audiogram, but an experience of exclusion–of being excluded. That’s where so much of the frustration comes from–cause the way Privilege works, is that it’s invisible to those carry it. And if you’re a newby in some Excluded Territory (late deaf, recently wheel-chaired… ) it isn’t always clear who or what is at fault in the frustration and discrimination that follows. Maybe even, if you’re born into that zone. Born black. Queer.  Falling into self-blame… self-hatred… or free floating anger and anxiety … is all too easy. It can kill you.

Same for any form of privilege, isn’t it?

Patriarchy, White suprmacy, homophobia, ableism. You know them by their negative faces. You know them… as their designated outsider, their designated Other. The Privileged don’t see or feel it–and pointing it out to them can provoke enything from passive denial to homocidal rage. The other side of Privilege is a Dangerous Place… it can get you killed … the cop who shoots the driver who couldn’t hear the order to roll down the window. And on and on and on….

Which takes me back to my audiology tests this afternoon. I knew they wouldn’t answer the quetions that had been floating around in my mind, questions I couldn’t quite formulate — but I needed to look at the numbers, at that graph, if only to get what it was that the tests were not going tell me, what it was I’ve been living, how I’ve come to experience myself as Other, in relation to the Hearing World–in relation to that particular form of privilege–so hard to see, because it had once been MY privilege, invisible to me!

I think I get it now… what it means… what I mean, when I say that I’m ‘hard of hearing,’ And I’m beginning to see now the privilege involved in being HoH, and not deaf… which is another degree of Otherness.

I see how, even while I’ve been Othered by the Hearing, I still possess a degee of belonging, a level of participation in the Hearing World, that Deaf/deaf, do not–and THIS is why I’ve been uncomfortable with… why the posiblity of going deaf–losing ALL the privilege of the Hearing, feels (in my imagination), like FREEDOM…. because the relationship of Other to Privileged is parallel to that of Colonized, to Collonizer! It’s THAT complicated!

Saying, “I am hard of hearing,” locates me, places me in one particular place in the broader spectrum of our oppressive social relations. This is no longer, my personal, individual problem. This is why getting a hearing aid– isn’t jut about affordability–but involves so much more! Now … NOW I can begin to sort this out. Now I can begin to THINK about what this means!

Hearing aids: my difficulty with this, has not been primarily about cost and availability–but with what determines that availability. If the solution to ‘fixing’ our hearing, is focused on each individual, each person-it will be limited to seeking  solutions from our individual place in the social and economic order, dependent on that system and that order, the very one which CREATES and MAINTAINS the ‘disability,’ by offering the privilege of normative ability and its privileges only to those who have been ‘fixed,’ that is–made to resemble the normative standard.
When we know, from the Martha’s Vineyard experience, that this distinction is constructed and unnecessary, when EVERYONE,  hearing and deaf, are taught sign language together–a rich and expressive language that adds to the experience and understanding of what it means to be human–beyond the privileged, normativity that creates discrimination and makes borders that create and exclude everything that falls outside as OTHER. Dependence on these technilogical devices, without the revolutionary educational reform that would teach SIGN univerally, is a colonizer solution to maintain power over the colonized.

The question is — what are we trying to fit into? How is it, that our social world is structured around a relationship to power that makes us outsiders. If we are made to feel like we have to search for an identity–it’s because we’ve lost the identity we thought we had–and the privilege it gave us.
Why I think learning ASL is so important–even if we never become fluent. That’s taking power for ourselves, claiming our own identity, rather than begging for fixes to make us function again like the very system that denies us equal status, the Normative system that “Others” us.
Good. Lets make hearing aids affordable for all–but at the same time, raise our awareness of how this ableist system works so we can create our OWN identity, and become good allies and advocates for others, with other kinds of excluding conditions.