Sharing A Beautiful Artist

(The following article is from thisiscolossal.com a wonderful site of all things to do with art)

In The Redemption, photography-based artist Tawny Chatmon celebrates the beauty of Black hair through a series of arresting portraits superimposed with 24 karat gold flourishes. Each photograph features a solemn child who’s dressed in hand-painted ornate, gilt garments that are inspired by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt’s Golden Phase. “These portraits are meant to act as a counter-narrative and redemptive measure to uplift and elevate Black hair, tradition, and culture freeing us from negative stereotypes,” Chatmon says in a statement. “An intent, not to be confused with seeking validation, but rather an unyielding affirmation of Black beauty.”

By evoking Klimt, the Maryland-based artist hopes to elicit similar feelings as when considering some of the painter’s pieces like “The Kiss,” for example. “I remember being drawn to the details, the poses, of course, the gold, and the grace,” she says of her initial reaction to his pieces. The ornamental additions immediately signal beauty, which has many different meanings for Chatmon.

Beauty is every child in these portraits. Beauty is individuality and nonconformity. Beauty is something that you saw, that you can’t stop thinking about because it made such a good impression on you. Beauty is the way I felt when I got to hold each of my babies after giving birth to them. Beauty is motherhood. Beauty is when my 15-year-old son makes it a point to hug me every night and tells me he loves me. Beauty is goodness. Beauty is knowing you’re beautiful even in a world hellbent on making you think otherwise.

To explore more of the artist’s layered photographs that consider both personal and cultural conceptions of allure, grace, and strength, head to her site and Instagram.

Writing Japan

toriiofshannoshrine

(internet photo: Torii of Shanno Shrine in Nagasaki after atomic bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945. It was the only thing that withstood the explosion in the area)
A friend challenged me to write a poem about Japan; this is what I came up with.

Japan is a tsunami,
a world of samurai and sumo
ikebana and kamikaze.
The land of the rising sun
graces us with cherry blossoms
and temples that flow
from a calligraphy brush.

Earthquakes reverberate
half a world away,
carry strength
to the west,
remnants of people’s live
swept out to sea.

A crewless “ghost ship”
sails to Haida Gwaii.
While we sip exotic tea
and inspect wreckage,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
disturb us with grace,
slowly dissolving.

Japan is a sculptured garden,
glass and sleek steel
arranged with precision
next to paper walled teahouses,
Mount Fuji an elegant backdrop
to bullet trains that shuttle
honorable tradition
into a unpruned future.

Thanksgiving

Attitude
Gratitude
Acknowledging life’s gifts

Grace and wisdom
Dignity, beauty, poise
Large family gatherings
Laughter and noise

Pumpkin pie and turkey
Gravy poured with ease
Cranberries as elegant garnish
for abundant dinner, so tasty

A prayer of thanks
Recognizing all that has been given
Appreciation for life’s bounty
All that makes life worth livin’

Grateful for life’s blessings
Goodness all around
Thankful for friends and family
Whose support and love know no bounds

The Chase

Self compassion peeks
tentatively
around a corner
aware of censor lurking
ready to pounce on any opportunity
Forming an unholy trinity
along with self judgment and perfection
this triad wields a hefty mallet
capable of quashing any forward progress

As compassion takes a chance
stepping into the limelight
the chase is on
Prudence and caution
dart in and out
with guilt and blame
they hunt
grace and tenderness

Hope and resilience join
to give compassion strength
together they soundly rise above
negative quibbles
They giggle with the realization
that censor is not the authoritative leader
it deliberately claims to be

Compassion’s gentle trio
add a breezy freshness to outlook
Sending censor, judgment and perfection
back to the shadows
void of their influence