History was made today with the Inauguration of the second term of our first African American president, Barrack Obama. Over a million people traveled to Washington D.C. to participate, an event even more meaningful as it took place on the day of the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.
Mycala and I celebrated in a different way, traveling into the heart of Baltimore to visit the Walter's Art Museum. It was the last day of the Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. The exhibit featured paintings, sketches, sculpture, and printed books depicting Africans and their descendants. "Artists, aristocrats, saints, slaves and diplomats" encouraged the viewer to consider a variety of roles as well as possible implications related to their varied roles. It was enlightening to see such a variety of scenarios. Snippets of information were included, enough to raise more questions than answer, but even knowing enough to ask questions that hadn't previously occurred to me made the exhibit worthwhile.
We viewed the Greek, Roman and Etruscan Art section as well as the Egyptian Art. We only saw a fraction of the displays. There are more than 35,000 one of a kind objects covering 55 centuries of art. The collection is even more remarkable when you consider that it was the vision and interest of only two men, William Thompson Walters and his son Henry Walters. There is no cost to tour the museum but there is an opportunity to make a donation in the lobby, and there are membership and donation opportunities.
Examples of Egyptian Art from the New Kingdom are below.
Lessons from Nature is a topic that has fascinated me for a lifetime. Even so, I was totally unprepared for the insights of Esther Krinitz, a holocaust surviver, artist and story teller, whose work was featured at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
When I first walked into the museum I was captivated by the whimsy and humor. My guard was down. Had I heard this story at a holocaust museum or concentration camp in Germany I'd have been braced for horror. But I was at my most receptive - my heart was open and unsuspecting.
I glanced at the tapestries before noticing an accompanying video, and sat down in child like wonder, expecting only delight. The video began. "This was not what I came to see," I silently protested, but stayed, mesmerized and paralyzed, enthralled, captivated, stunned.
Esther weaves her mesmerizing story with a needle and thread, creating tapestries to depict her memories of the holocaust. Time and again she referenced the gifts of nature in her journey. She and her sister were hidden and sheltered from the Nazis by nature. A kind gentleman provided them with a garden plot to grow food for their survival. One tapestry depicts a Nazi soldier being attacked by bees when he began interrogating her. A cherry tree, laden with fruit, depicts 'money growing on trees' in America.
I'm still processing my lessons from Esther. My perceptions and understanding have been heightened and altered. She relived the nightmares and miracles, creating an unforgettable story of horror, survival, and gratitude, one stitch at a time.
We were asked not to take photographs inside the museum, but you can read more about her journey here - Art and Remembrance.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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