To mark the closing day of the "Posters of Inspirational European Women: Taken from the zine Shape & Situate" exhibition, Space Station Sixty Five will be hosting a collection of resources from other sociopolitical art, poster, zine and publication projects for everyone to explore.
Justseeds is represented with the Celebrate People's History poster series, Firebrands: Portraits of the Americas, and videos of Justseeds artists Melanie Cervantes, Jesus Barraza, Favianna Rodriguez and Mary Tremonte talking about their work.
Remembering Who We Are: Exploring artistic and creative sociopolitical memory, and art in social change movements
Saturday 26th January 2013
Space Station Sixty Five, 373 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PS
A day of presentations, exhibitions, a resource archive, video screenings, discussions, participatory zine-making, and more.
Born on this day in 1800, John Brown is a man whom it is hard to feel neutral about. Called a terrorist by some and a martyr by others, Brown was moved to violence by his conviction of the slavery system as evil and wrong, a conviction supported by his strong Christian faith. "John Brown’s legacy is typically whittled down to his audacious orchestration of an armed slave revolt in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia...However, his October, 1859 raid on an armory saw Brown with only 21 armed supporters, all of whom were eventually overcome by a force of U.S. Marines." (Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas).
Before his execution, Brown gave a speech which summed up his views: "Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done!"
Happy Birthday to Elizabeth Catlett, who would have turned 97 today. Catlett is an inspiration to many in the Justseeds crew for her linocut print work, and her participation in the Taller de Gráfica Popular of Mexico City. Formed in 1937, the Taller was a printmaking group whose work covered subjects like anti-facism, literacy and schools, and organized labor. She is also an amazing sculptor, and although not well known by the general public, her work can be found in major art museums around the U.S. if you look (I communed with "stargazer" many times while working at the Detroit Institute of Arts).
Catlett's work and life will be a source of inspiration to political graphic producers for years to come: "Spare, reserved, angry, radical beautiful...Genius in her ideas and in their execution...there's a motion and fluidity...she doesn't fuck around." (Nosedive #9, 1999) I'm grateful for her incredible contributions to the world. Up until her death, Catlett lived and worked in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Illustration from Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas.
I'm not sure what curse words would have come out of the mouth of Túpac Amaru II, born on this day in 1742 as José Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera, but surely he was a man that needed to utilize expressions of rage. Claiming direct lineage to the last Incan chief whose name he took on, Amaru II began a widespread insurrection that ignited the whole region: "South of Cuzco, Túpac Amaru goes about freeing Indians tied to the looms. The winds of the great rebellion deprive viceroys of their sleep in Lima, Buenos Aires, and Bogotá." (Galeano, Faces & Masks) He was successful at stirring up feelings of fear in the hearts of those in power, and determination in the hearts of the oppressed, but Amaru's own story did not end well. After betrayal by his officers, the Spanish unsuccessfully tried to quarter him with horses. Yo, that means they tied each limb to a horse and pulled. Since that didn't work, they cut his head off. Damn!
Illustration from Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas.
Born Eunice Waymon on this day in 1933, Nina Simone has been one of my greatest heros since I bought the 1974 album It Is Finished when I was fifteen. Ten years later I finally saw her in concert, only a few years before her death. Wearing a homemade ball gown and a fancy coat borrowed from a drag queen, I wept upon hearing her sing Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair and Mississippi Goddam in person. Sassy, emotional, fierce, graceful, and imperfect, I always appreciated the way Nina mixed her passion for justice with her love of music. In her concerts, she morphed with the mood of the room and kicked down the imaginary boundaries of genres like "classical," "pop" or "jazz". From her position as the "High Priestess of Soul," Nina could easily have been broken and humbled by the persistence of racism and ignorance in the U.S. or the corruption in the music industry, but she kept it real: "Ha! Do you know what an Obeah woman is? I kiss the moon and hug the sun, call the spirits and make 'em run. They call me Nina, and pisces too…there ain't nothin' I can't do." I still listen to Nina when nothing else helps.
Illustration from Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas.
Marlon Riggs was born on this day in 1957. A political filmmaker, Riggs started exploring themes of race and sexuality in his films while attending Harvard University. As he was originally from Texas, a film festival in Dallas named for him will run it's third annual event this year. The following text is from Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas: "Banned from numerous public-broadcasting stations, Riggs’ work sparked debates about funding and censorship in public television, and encouraged him to rally support for a more inclusive, diverse popular media. After contracting the HIV virus, Riggs became an outspoken AIDS activist, exploring his experiences in his film Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No, I Regret Nothing). He continued to work on his film Black Is…Black Ain’t, a personal journey and examination of a myriad of African-American identities, until his death in 1994."
Today is the birthday of Angela Davis. Davis is best known for her work with the Black Panthers in the 1970's, subsequent time on the lam, and incredible afro; she has also been a forceful and passionate voice in the prison abolition movement since the 1980's, working with groups like Critical Resistance. The following text is from Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas: "Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Angela Yvonne Davis is a scholar, orator and revolutionary. Davis became involved with the Black Panther Party in the summer of 1970, working on a campaign to free imprisoned Black Panther activists the Soledad Brothers. When a shotgun registered in Davis’ name was used in an attempt to free prisoner James McClain during a court hearing, Davis appeared on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list and was thrust into the national spotlight."
Muhammad Ali was born on this day in 1942 and has kicked ass ever since. A poet boxer, Ali publicly announced his conversion to the nation of Islam the day after he won the title of heavyweight boxing champion of the world. The following text is from Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas.
"In 1966, Muhammad Ali was drafted by the U.S. Army. Although it was clear that the celebrity Ali would not see active combat, he steadfastly refused any military service. Giving up his heavyweight title and millions of dollars, and risking his freedom and career, Ali was banned from boxing for almost four years for following his conscience. Ali’s actions resonated around the globe. He was a forceful voice in opposition to the war in Vietnam, a black man with courage and conviction and a fearless dissenter in a world where “jocks” were not supposed to be radically minded."