Artistic Social Justice Media

Quotes

Values Exhibit Art Access Gallery Artist Mentor Exhibit

Value 

  • the lightness or darkness of a color
  • worth

Brown Paper Bag Test– Slave owners held brown paper bags to the skin of a slave. Those as light or lighter than the bag would be allowed to work in the house.Those of a darker skin hue were sent to the fields. These were two very different life sentences, life circumstances and life expectancies. The residual expectations of beauty from the brown paper bag test still affect society today.

Colorism is a reflection of unjust expectations, within ones own race, of acceptable standards of worth and beauty based on lightness or darkness of skin tone.

Its like starving for acceptance and being given a beautiful inedible piece of cake.

• How does colorism affect our capacity to understand, love and accept our multi-ethnic families, villages and ourselves?

• Can we heal the misunderstandings of the beauty of value and the value of beauty?

For me, ethnicity awareness brought an awakening. The challenge of racism isn’t one I chose. It chose me.

On August 20, 1980, Joseph Paul Franklin, a racist serial killer was trying to start a race war across America. He murdered Ted Fields and David Martin, who were African American. I was hit with bullet fragments as we jogged from Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was 15 years old at the time. I grew up in Utah. But this wasn’t my first or last taste of racism.

When I fill out a census report I never feel like I choose the right description. White not Hispanic, isn’t true for me. Hispanic doesn’t feel right either. I am multi-ethnic. I come from a long line of open-minded lovers. Many were lost in their need to be as worthy as the white people in their world. Some of my beautiful Mexican ancestors bleached their skin. My mother remembers hearing her Mexican grandmother tell her, ” We may be dark but we are just as good as the Okies.” She believed there was a rating system of worth and importance. She told her “we are better than white trash.”

If she really believed this, how did she feel about herself and her grandchildren who carried the less “favorable” traits of dark hues and ethnic physical characteristics or the children whose skin was lighter?

My ethnicity is tied to the culture of my sphere of influence; my friends and my family as well as their friends and families. Our lives touch each other to shape our experiences. It is a ripple effect.

At times I’ve been told I look like an exotic white woman but my ethnicity is more connected to the African American and the Hispanic culture. My father had blonde hair and grey eyes, my mother is first generation Mexican American, with dark hair and eyes.

Growing up in Utah, my family was often ostracized and called “spic”, “wetback”, half breed” by our white Mormon neighbors whose parents didn’t allow them to play with us. To them we had no worth, no redeeming value.

“Tell Me Who You’re With & I’ll Tell You What Your Worth”.

“One Day I Decided To Love Without Society’s Permission”.

To Look As Light As Possible: EVERY DAY Use Grandma Ceja's Skin Bleach Recipe: Lemon, Olive Oil and Baking Soda

Being a fair skinned, bright, shy, obedient, quiet and introverted child, I seemed invisible as I observed the grown ups around me. I quietly fell through the cracks and listened. I heard their unguarded conversations (as children often do) and learned about the toxic give and take of racism.

Those conversations treated me to the double-edged sword of white privilege at a distance. I still marvel at the poisonous mind-sets or sayings that imprison those who just want to fit in, to be valued and belong, to be seen as a person.


“Don’t be fooled by my beauty. The light of my face comes from the candle of my spirit”- Rumi

Tell Me Who You're With & I'll Tell You What Your Worth

Starving for acceptance and handed a

I believe in the law of three fold. You get what you give, times three. That’s why I don’t want to fight prejudice or declare war on racism or anything that offends or scares me. My intention is to heal racism with art and uncomfortable conversations. Healing begins within, exploring self imposed biases and prejudices.  Everything touches everything.

My art is a  hopeful prayer for the voiceless. It is an invitation into the void of uncomfortable conversations where the healing begins.

Values Exhibit Larry Fishing Values Exhibit Back Values Exhibit Art Access Gallery

STATEMENT ABOUT MY ARTIST MENTOR EXPERIENCE

I think the women at Art Access are really fairy godmother’s who grant wishes for art waiting to be born.

I’ll always be grateful Art Access granted my wish and gave me the opportunity to work with such a talented and giving artist, Liberty Blake. She’s is teaching me the fundamental, structural and artistic process of collage art. Her generosity of time and wisdom has been priceless.

The evolution of this exhibit grew from exquisite conversations of vulnerability with Liberty. Her professional and personal advice allowed me to give a voice to the family secrets of colorism.

I look forward to working with Liberty in the future. This has been a challenging beautiful experience I will carry forward in my artistic career.

© Terry Jackson-Mitchell and http://www.idwellindreams.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terry Jackson -Mitchell and http://www.idwellindreams.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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February Art Healing A Day Marathon

For the month of February I’m painting people who healed my view of the world. It’s a project that matters to me because I truly believe we all have the power to heal the world. Every single one of us has that power. This is an opening to a creative conversation about healing the unresolved trauma imprints within my dna.

This is the beginning of my digital painting class. I am pretty shaky. This is all new to me. I’m using a computer that allows a pen to draw on the screen. I like this class a lot. I am learning about cartooning, story boarding, figure painting and social media. The classes all seem to work together. It’s fascinating and incredibly fun.

Healing the ancestors pain within me.

Healing the ancestors pain within me.


Polite & Pretty (poem published in Folio Spring 2013)

I haven’t slept for several weeks more than a few hours here and there. I don’t want to dream. But I want to sleep. Impossible. This morning I woke from a horribly vivid nightmare. This serial haunting follows me, when I’m stressed or upset. Reminding me that I am a hostage unless I talk about it. But, if I do talk about it I risk every thing. It’s not polite or pretty. But polite and pretty keeps me in this nightmare. I am held hostage, holding my tongue so I don’t pollute the air for those who haven’t experienced random violence, child abuse, rape, poverty, incest, trauma, racism, PTSD and anything else.I know things like this have happened since the beginning of time. But what if they happen because nobody talks about it?

Subconsciously, I believed that the victims on the news must have done something to deserve the tragedy that befell them. It insulated me from the thought that it could ever happen to me or anyone I love. I felt safe in my bubble of naiveté, “As long I do everything right, nothing bad will happen to me. I’m a good person.”

So, I became polite and pretty. But I can’t wear that title anymore. My nightmares are forcing me to jump out of the burning building of my past. And it is neither polite nor pretty. I descend knowing that I’m landing with truth.

My past is like a knife. I can use it to serve or harm. I can’t change the past. But I can follow hope as I navigate through this moment. Hope in humanity. The future is changed with one person’s thought, any person involved in the holograms of my life. I can’t control what they think. I can’t control the future.

I worry about offending everyone with my truth. But is it less offensive to deny it, to avoid the shattering of an illusion?

My dream last night was so vivid. I was trapped in a house with people who were suffering from different abnormalities. All were muttering to themselves, lost and paranoid. All were angry, sad and insane in their own unfortunate way, representing different aspects of my psyche. Long, shiny, silver, sewing shears were everywhere. I knew I had to use them to kill, for a chance at survival. But I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I just wanted to go, to get out of this madness.

I grabbed a heavy cold pair of scissors as I looked for the door, planning the fastest path of least resistance. A nude, disfigured, blind woman slowly walked by me. Touching the walls feeling her way through the room.

Her heart was under her skin but above the rib cage. I could see the outline of it. Pumping and exposed as though it was calling me to kill her first. She would be easiest to eliminate. Her heart was asking for it, by being so exposed.

I planned my route for the escape and raised my cold weapon to plunge into her beating heart. I saw that she was me and I awoke in a cold sweat.

It shook me. Forgotten pieces of the dream came to me throughout the day. As I interpreted the dream, I realized there are things in my past that must be cut from my psyche and my life. Like a surgeon addressing cancer, I am the surgeon and I am the patient. I am the victim and I am the victor. I am the destroyer and I am the healer. I am a wanderer alone in a sea of people of the chaotic city and I am the butterfly floating gracefully in the forest.

I am so much more than polite and pretty.