All posts tagged: O + Festival 2015

Sisters Sojourn to Kingston to Update the Truth with Jetsonorama

Sisters Sojourn to Kingston to Update the Truth with Jetsonorama

Two new wheat-pasted and hand painted murals by Jetsonorama in New York State’s first capital call to memory the work of the abolitionist and former slave Sojourner Truth, who at one point called Kingston her home. Born as a slave she had a handful of white masters and endured untold sufferings for nearly three decades before escaping to freedom in 1826.

A powerful feminist and human rights activist who began her vocal advocacy in her 50s until her death at 86, Sojourner became an inspirational pillar of the peoples’ movement in the history of the United States and her words and life continue to be relevant and inspirational to many in our current generation of black women.

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Jetsonorama . Jess X Chen for O+ Festival in Kingston, NY. October 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

Working collaboratively with artist Jess X Chen, Jetsonorama bring today’s voices to the fore, writing the words of poets as halos around their heads and pasting their photos here as part of the O+ Festival.

“Over the course of a week Jess and I photographed the poets, created the composition, got the work printed, prepped and pasted,” says the artist about the portraits they did of three poets who speak their truth a century and a half after Sojourner: Mohogany Browne, T’ai Freedom Ford, and Jennifer Falu.

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Jetsonorama . Jess X Chen for O+ Festival in Kingston, NY. October 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

The artists ran out of time before mounting Falu’s mural, but will do so at a later time. Each of the poets were chosen because of the power of their expression to move minds and hearts today and because of their lineage to the legacy of Ms. Truths impact on the culture.

“In 1851 she delivered her best known speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio,” says Jetsonorama. “The speech was known as “Ain’t I a Woman?” in which she compares the value of her life as a hard working black woman to that of any man. Jess and I wanted to honor the legacy of Sojourner Truth in her hometown and we approached the 3 poets about contributing poems that speak to the challenges of black womanhood.”

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Jetsonorama . Jess X Chen for O+ Festival in Kingston, NY. October 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

From Mahogany Browne the came the poem called “Black Girl Magic,” from which this is an excerpt.

“You are a threat knowing yourself.
You are a threat loving yourself.
You are a threat loving your kin.
You are a threat loving your children.

You Black Girl magic.
You Black Girl flyy.
You Black Girl brilliance.
You Black Girl wonder.
You Black Girl shine.
You Black Girl bloom.
You Black Girl, Black Girl
And you turning into a beautiful Black Woman right before our eyes.”

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Jetsonorama . Jess X Chen for O+ Festival in Kingston, NY. October 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

T’ai Freedom Ford contributed a poem entitled “i sell the shadow to sustain the substance”, she says is dedicated to Glenn Ligon and Sojourner Truth.

“as black woman i am untitled – nameless
my heart a faint glow of neon wire
buzzing toward some shameless demise.
i stand against walls looking nonchalant.
flashbulbs mistake me for celebrity or bored whore,
same difference.

as black woman i am installation art as negress.
my heart a black plastic bag ghosting streets.
what parts of me ain’t for sale as woman?”

 

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Jetsonorama . Jess X Chen for O+ Festival in Kingston, NY. October 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama . Jess X Chen for O+ Festival in Kingston, NY. October 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

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Jetsonorama . Jess X Chen for O+ Festival in Kingston, NY. October 2015. (photo © Jetsonorama)

For more on Sojourner Truth, you can begin HERE

 

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