jetsonorama and Jess X Snow
We Be Darker Than Blue, 2015
Wheat paste, photographic prints, acrylic
we people be darker than blue / and quite a few
of us be yellow
all soul/shades of
walken like the sun u be.
move on even higher.
laugh at yo/color
have not moved
to the blackness we be about
cuz as Curtis Mayfield be sayen
we people be darker than blue
and quite a few
of us be yellow
all soul/shades of
cuz some of us
be hearen yo/sweet/music.
jetsonorama and Jess X Snow will create a mural featuring Mahogany L. Browne and her mentor and pioneer of the black arts movement, Sonia Sanchez. The mural is based on The Two Fridas, Frida Kahlo’s double self-portrait where the figures are connected by both hands and heart, and dressed in the traditional garb of the Mexican campesina or peasant woman. Like Kahlo, poetry for Sanchez and Browne has become a way for these two artists, to assert a powerful image of politically and socially engaged women of color. The visual artists jetsonorama and Snow have chosen the title, We Be Darker Than Blue from the Sanchez poem, To Anita to further express this message of sisterhood.
SONIA SANCHEZ is a poet, activist, scholar—and the author of over 16 books including Homecoming, We a BaddDDD People, Love Poems, I've Been a Woman and A Sound Investment well as short stories, critical essays, plays, and children's books. She was the Laura Carnell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Temple University. She is the recipient of both the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry and the Langston Hughes Poetry Award. One of the most important writers of the Black Arts Movement.
MAHOGANY L. BROWNE is the author of several books includingRedbone: A Biomythography which was nominated for a 2016 NAACP Award in Poetry. A Cave Canem and Poets House Alumnae, she has released five LPs of her poetry and toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. She has released several poetry collections in 2015: Smudge (Button Poetry), Redbone (Willow Books) and the anthology The Break Beat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket). An Urban Word NYC mentor, Brown is the publisher of Penmanship Books as well as Poetry Program Director and Friday Night Slam curator for the Nuyorican Poets Café.
CHIP THOMAS a.k.a “jetsonorama”, is a photographer, public artist, activist and physician who has been working between Monument Valley and The Grand Canyon in the Navajo nation since 1987. He coordinates the The Painted Desert Project – a community building effort which manifests as a constellation of murals across western Navajo Nation painted by artists from all over the reservation and the world. Thomas’ own public artwork consists of enlarged black and white photographs pasted on structures along the roadside on the Navajo nation. You can find his large scale photographs pasted in the desert, on the graphics of the Peoples Climate March, the National Geographic Blog, Lens Culture and on 350.org.
JESS X SNOW is a film director, artist and nationally touring poet. After the Cultural Revolution, her parents emigrated from Nanchang, China to Canada in the late 1980s. Her work exposes narratives of colonial trauma, diaspora and collective protest by connecting the violence between the queer and colored body and the body of the Earth. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, her art and films have been featured in Asian American International Film Festival, The Huffington Post, Nepantla: A Journal for Queer Poets of Color, and at the Asian Cinevision Diversity Screening at the New York Times. She is currently developing a feature film on the Navajo Nation, where she is teaching mural and poetry workshops to the Diné youth community.