NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Vol 17.2: Fall 2017 - Page 126

visual arts Oliver Lee Jackson: Composed Works from 1984 to 2016 By Cathy Kimball PHOTOGRAPHS BY M. LEE FATHERREE 62 Oliver Lee Jackson regards an empty canvas, an untouched slab of marble, or a blank sheet of paper as an energy field with which he freely collaborates. The works in Composed reveal the signature figural elements that Jackson has consistently insinuated into the work: figures that rise, float or fall; entwined lovers or reclining dreamers; figures that appear to dance or play; and figures that come together in circles or clusters. While these gestural forms have been a persistent means by which Jackson activates the canvas, the marble or the paper, their function has nothing to do with a narrative. Jackson’s intent is not to tell us a story. m Painting, 2010 (11.11.10) Mixed media on canvas 65 3 /4” by 65 5 /8” poetry BENEATH the SPANISH By Victor Hernández Cruz A la memoria de Tata Güines The prose pieces are in the spirit of notes; they throw light upon the poems and are pregnant with personal biography. These poems and prose interludes are in English with occasional Spanish words, which is how my mind works, bilingually, constantly translating pensive Spanish into English and vice versa. This makes writing for me an act of translation, of the imagination and its linguas, a desgeografication, crumbling shapes like a cubist work patching up continents; we are still in the age of discovery in the constant search of the connections. Concentration is difficult for many people in this age of electronic gadgetry. Open the books up which are made of tree wood, sit down, and read this gathering of fragments, thinking, and dancing history to make lingual bridges of communication. Victor Hernández Cruz Kenitra, Morocco, 2016 The cabinet is a montage Of wood-tight animal, Sealed like leather zapatos Tata rumbas and I grow shoes Foot shakes insects off Goat flesh stretched Screams colors of tan tinges How the cow gave milk, Tata zapatero Make my zapatillas Resbalosas upon the loseta Glittering/ Below on the street two guys Gnawa Show up Before vision I had heard The metal castanets approaching Dressed Mayan/or Inca beyond kaleidoscope colors, They dance the morning Café to elevate, Tata’s manos weave colors merge so many Africas Meet Open book of Alejo Carpentier On Cuban music Immense rhythmic melodious Till horizon meets historic cotorra Scribbling sky danzón My foot wants to danza South Sahara down Tata drumming palms upon Cowhide Some drums mule skin Has been said water buffalo, Goat tumtu sounds make A fist garden Floreos crash into The Gnawa clank. Dr. Fernando Ortiz Researched nkongo Bantu-Congolese: Conga a dance a circle, Makuta cows charge into The rhythm Listen how distance condenses Throw step and bop head I am below the Niger River Scribble Calligraphy on the Sahara sand Moving down the wind comes And away blow designs. My country is rhythm The only true legislation, Political status pales with the cadence. Dance is The nature of rolling mountains Running towards the coast To jump into the water Government is the clave, Adal Maldonado took my Passport photo out of focus Similar to the nation But in tune with Mambo The secret codes upon document The camera note: “Accidental products Of distraction And forgetfulness Will make you Mambo again” The photographer scribbled in A note twenty years ago When we were different images Both Trying to enfoco Foco it Becoming enfoco lens out Focus out of the blur Enfoco it Que se Foco, Photography is a squish In the darkness of the cave The silence between Spaces of limestone Total obscurity Snaps/What is in the light. What is Tata doing Slow finger-popping The cowhide Discussing something With Chano Pozo Tata was a kid once Jumped up on Havana stage Chano there Put his hands on the Tumbadora across from The composer of: “Ariñañara” Started to slap it Um, kaslap — kaslap. The elder saw him right away Saw what he heard, the color Of the flowers sprouting. As I listen the air Caribbeans Now late February In the depth a motion of Spring Moisture warm waves of flesh Skin on skin Tata Güines maestro classic Ever to tumba the dora upon the street of forever Sun beats. Sabora. fragmentation floats like a painting through and from the deformity; outside of history, migratory pirates of contraband. I hope my poems are communication between the fragments. In a real sense I am country-less, yet through my mestizo Caribbean culture I become a citizen of the world, through blood and communion I grow identity branches, various, through words, music, and experience, this life is an adventure. I walk with it. 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