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Filtering by Tag: black

Poetry from a Queen

Mario Moore

As we here at the BMG continue our conversation about what is happening in America today, (you can check out in our Special posts section) things have slowed down. With the constant writing and endless videos of people being killed at the hands of police officers every other week, we needed to slow down. But as the art contributor I realize that Black people have been dealing with these issues in America since it's founding. African people of all nations have been dealing with oppression and takeover since historical Egypt.

Creativity and ingenuity get us through these tough times and they will power us through this oppression as they always have. We also have to realize that as far as statistics go, it may be getting worse but what really is taking place is that everyone has a camera readily available to show the horror of murder. I believe that poetry can allow us a different insight than visual art. So here is some poetry and sayings from the amazing director, screenwriter, playwright and photographer Danielle Eliska, who also happens to be my girlfriend:

westernized mainstream.

i cannot unbutton my blackness, 
strip down to colorless—
nor do i wish it.
even if
my skin was transparent, 
find something
wrong with
my hair, 
my walk, 
the curve of my hips, 
the arch of my back, 
my sturdy step— 
(you claim i’m dis/torted.)

oh, you unhappy world.

Danielle Eliska,  Discipline of Emotions: Deux , 2016 (raw shot from  Female Protagonist  series)

Danielle Eliska, Discipline of Emotions: Deux, 2016 (raw shot from Female Protagonist series)

living truth.

you can’t just be woman.

you have to be
saturated (with imaginary cum)
(sacred places) auctioned
when you don’t respond in a favorable way—
you’re showered with “bitches” & “cunts”.

all within three blocks before arriving at the train station— just in the eye of rush hour.

& a side of you dies a little every time. (the softer side— the kind side, the side of hope & affection, mating.)

your daily epitaph will renounce you to “mean whore stupid bitch”, as if the day isn’t hard enough.

the clock just struck 9am.


DEL Thoughts.

I avoided stepping on a caterpillar today because I know the beautiful future it is destined to have.

If only we were that careful with one another


All poems and writings are by Danielle Eliska. I am thinking about doing more posts about poets and writers who are saying some dope stuff. What do you all think?





Painters Painting the Black Body

Mario Moore

Painting the Black body in the expanse of history has been a tool for exploitation, admiration, jealousy, sexuality, exoticism and many other things. Usually through the hands and eyes of white male artists, the Black body has served these positions ultimately to the service of the white figures that occupy the forefront of these works of art. There are some historical exceptions of white artists honoring a Black figure, like Velazquez painting of Juan de Pareja or the painting of Alexandre Dumas by Oliver Pichat. But even these anomalies in history are only a small speck in the large canon of art.

Lately, there have been artists who are turning the tables on this narrative—Black painters that are devoted to representing the Black body through their eyes. But this isn’t anything new. The artist Henry Ossawa Tanner gave us insight into Black lives through his painterly hand in the 19th century. There were other Black artists working during that time but many stayed clear from representing the Black figure because they were afraid they would be unable to make a living. Today, there are more Black painters taking up the mantel to represent Black figures within their work. With the new retrospective of Kerry James Marshall, one of the leaders in putting the Black body at the forefront of his painting narrative, there are countless Black painters working today who are focusing on the representation of Black people in their work.  Here is the first installment of four contemporary painters that focus primarily on representing the Black body:


1.     Jennifer Packer

Untitled, 24 x 36, Oil on canvas, 2014

And Dreaming, 10 x 20, Oil on canvas, 2015

Looking at Jennifer’s work, the viewer can get lost in the form and absence of color in certain areas that have been wiped out. But this absence of color or erasure can be seen as a protective covering for the lives of the Black figures that she represents. We are at the mercy of what she wants to reveal and what she wants to hide. You may see a knee or the face of a figure in a field of color. She provides a safe space for the Black figure to reside that was ultimately exploited throughout history. She is a painter that gives us an intimate psychological view of figurative painting.

Check out more of her work here: Jennifer Packer



2.     Derek Fordjour

Double Down, 60 x 40, Oil on panel, 2016

Fearless Foursome, 2013

I have not seen many of Derek’s pieces in person but from what I have seen the pieces are always dope. His work uses games as metaphors and how they can be applied to our living experiences.  From board games, to the confetti of winning a championship, and basketball uniforms we see all there is about the spectacle of achievement and failure. There are often images of blocks and athletes that stand upon them within his paintings. I can’t help but draw comparisons between the slave auction blocks and the selling of Black bodies that represent the athletes within his work.

See more of his work here: Derek Fordjour

3.     Tylonn Sawyer

Congregation MLK, 120 x 48, Oil on canvas, 2015

Class Photo #1 Baldwin, 72 x 48, Oil on canvas, 2015


I’m used to seeing Tylonn’s large portrait paintings. But in his recent series, Sawyer uses historical black figures as masks. They act as the embodiment of revolution and they grace the faces of multiple figures in his paintings. Essentially, these paintings are a call to action. They allow us to look at the times we live in and imagine how Dr. King or Nina Simone would take action in the present.

Check out more of his work here: Tylonn Sawyer


4.     Senghor Reid


Senghor’s paintings show Black figures bathing in colorful light. His paintings show delight in the texture and body of paint. He is unafraid to use color and his figures often sit in front of the clouds. His pieces show a pleasure in the act of painting but also show a very intense gaze from the people within his paintings that contrast the bright colors seen in his work.

Check out more of his work here: Senghor Reid    

Please let me know of any other painters you think I should feature next. Comment below.