Maze-ing Maze 273
Maze-ing Maze 273
Maze 273: So I wanted to share my new ideas for a 13 piece show I started yesterday. I also got an email yesterday from a mother who says she gives the mazes to her kids to try daily. As a children’s book writer I definitely love the fact that kids are enjoying my site. It also made me feel a bit apprehensive about showing the works as it’s not necessarily age appropriate for all.
Knowing this I still decided to share the ideas and drafts and concepts as they take place. It is my hope that parents understand my need to grow and explore as an artist and maybe even use my art to educate their children on an important part of American history.
Now as many visitors know I have had a dry spell in over the past few weeks in the new ideas area with the mazes. Yesterday I decided to brainstorm and see what I could come up with. The project was born from a mixture of the following few experiences in my life.
Ever since high school I’ve thought that Black American history and the slave experience was not taught well enough. I find this to be true because of several conversations that I’ve had with people in my life. I’ve been told that slaves were treated well, it was okay because they were sheltered and clothed, it wasn’t as bad as so an so’s experiences, etc. All things I don’t think people would say if they learned about the horrors of slavery in America.
This was really brought to light for me the other day when I was with an associate who called me a nigger. I asked him to clarify what I thought I heard and he said he meant it like nigga. I explained to him that I’m not any definition of the word and prefer that if we are going to be in contact that he not use that word around me. He explained that I could call him a cracker if I would like and I told him know that I would prefer to call what I always called him by his name. After a few moments of defending his right to use the word he apologized.
Days later I met with his son (20 yrs old) who was there at the time. We discussed what happened and I explained from a historical standpoint that the word is bad period and that many people died with that being the last word they heard. He seemed to be understanding and then we got on some subject (I forget) and he ended up calling me a nigger. To which I responded by showing him a picture of my kids and asking him do they look like niggers? He said no and then I said a few things I won’t repeat.
After leaving this particular incident I thought back to the past few encounters (4 to be exact) where I may have met a person at work or a common friend and hung out with a person enough to call them an associate. As I mentioned the last 4 to be exact all different races besides Black and all four people ended up calling me a nigger, 5 if you consider the father son duo. These encounters prove to me that more education is needed.
I went to the library and looked at other artists. I found a book by called the Middle Passage. His worked showcased drawings of the “middle passage” a term that was used for the voyage slaves were forced to endure from Africa to wherever they landed in the America’s. His work was cool and reminded me of a spoken word project I started about 10 years ago (never finished) that I wrote to educate about slavery.
So after the encounters, and the book I started making storyboards for a series of mazes that tell/showcase the story of Blacks and Slavery. Because I can’t okay because my people don’t look the best I decided to use chess pieces to depict the black and white of the society. Obviously the art will not be happy, cheery as most of my mazes are. But my goal is to educate and capture the struggles of slave life and how remarkable it was for people to survive that and still thrive today.
As you can see by the first piece “Strange Fruit” I’m going to have to practice these before I create the full-sized versions. I really want to give the chess pieces a real human feel to them and see that I need to work on that. So again I apologize to all the parents for any issues. Soon I will be releasing a more kid friendly project that has none of my personal issues.