Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Michelle Thomas - Solo Art Show @ Canton's Gallery on the Green - "Know Thyself : Sankofa"

Michelle Thomas – Solo Art Show
Gallery on the Green
5 Canton Green Rd. (on Rt. 44)
Canton, CT 06019

Opening Reception:
Upstairs Gallery
Saturday, September 3, 2016
6pm - 9pm

KNOW THYSELF :  SANKOFA                                                                                           
-Ancient African Proverb


“You must reach back to reclaim that which is lost in order to move forward”

The “Sankofa” is a word in the Twi language by the Akan people of Ghana, which translates as "Go back and get it." Sankofa also refers to the metaphorical Asante Adinkra symbol depicted either as a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg from its back or as a stylized heart shape. It expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress.

The body of work in this art show represents my personal journey of looking back upon my life, retracing past lives and experiences to glean knowledge of self.   No matter how painful looking at our past is, there exists an extreme benefit to learning from ones mistakes and misfortunes in order to change the course of the future.  The human story may at times be wrought with injustice, discontent and outright hatred, yet our resilient spirit and resolve rises above and overcomes all obstacles.  My mission is to encourage healing in this hurting world.  As we journey back, we can reunite with spirit, taking us to the very Source of existence where all knowledge and wisdom reside, shifting energy to manifest action that changes the world and ourselves.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Death and life...

Up early thinking about the fleeting quality of life. We toil.  We run around according to watches,  rushing to places only to wait in line. We drive. "To-ing and fro-ing". We obsess. We worry. It's easy to miss the miracle of life.

Feeling stagnant, emotional and powerless I went for a run. I was arrested by the vision of a lone tree. So I stopped to enjoy a leafless tree amongst the backdrop of a full moon. The image inspired me to pause... to stop and feel the air on my skin.... to stop and notice life flowing through my veins. I noticed my pulse.... a vital sign of life. It became clear that 'in the moment' I have the power to change direction... to change my course. I can move slower, more deliberate with conscious intention. I can celebrate life.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Where am I today?

art heals...
     Once again, 2 a.m. is the bewitching hour. Silence wraps around me like a warm blanket. Subtle noises throughout my space creates a comforting familiarity....from the soft hum of my favored neon peace sign....the gentle rhythmic mechanical cooling fan of my the deep throaty moan of the hidden furnace, I am at ease. This is MY time to reflect and create. While the world sleeps, I am wide awake in mind, body and spirit.

     I spent the past two mornings fully engulfed in research. Freddie Grey, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till, Frederick Jermaine Carter, and Laquan McDonald are my recent honorees. All young Black men. The names I investigated started as a mild curiosity then exploded into an all encompassing absorption of personal narratives and history. Thankfully the media is the culprit. From the time I witnessed the video of Eric Gardner being choke out to death for the world to see I have been trying to somehow make sense of inhumanity. Questions swarm in my mind. How is life truly valued in these moments in history? A jumble of created mental equations topple each other. Just as I am horrible at math...I don't get it! The most precious means of passing on our DNA and legacy is often so easily snuffed out as if life is expendable because of fear or misunderstanding. In my mind, there is no acceptable justification to steal a life, but then, I am an idealist.

     I am plagued with a new mission in my art. For the past year and a half I have heightened senses concerning humanity. I personally feel the pain and injustice of victims of violence. It can be tough at times, seeing, reading and hearing about so much negativity, discrimination and abuse. It is bound to have a profound affect on my day. Hot tears stream my face regularly as I remain vulnerable to the countless accounts of known and unknown names recklessly killed. However, I believe I am somehow personally healing through the horrific deaths of so many taken too soon. Their life and death become my platform to fight against injustice. Through my art I am able to speak a language when words fail me. 

     There is something deep within me that cries out in outrage against oppressive means. One looking in could easily say that because I am Black or African American or simply of African decent it is obvious that I'd be sensitive to the plight of my people. I, however, know "there are layers to this thing" (Freedom) Injustice and oppression are not exclusive to the black community. As a woman artist I feel a double portion of a different kind of discrimination. Had I been Greek in 336 – 323 BC  (Hellenistic Period) I'd be considered a hero.

     The Black community is my focus because we need the most support and healing. In 2016 we are still recovering from generations of oppression. The affects of slavery did not just dissipate. We feel all too real the residual affects of mis-education and lack. Our communities are diseased with self-hate and hopelessness. PTSD is real! (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

     My goal and mission is to become a beacon of light.... of hope. When we understand and accept our full story (starting in Africa, BEFORE slavery) we will see our greatness and feel the generations of love, honor and dignity transcend time and space. My art is focused on education and uplifting black consciousness to encourage living out our full potential and capacity. With love as the standard, I pray we are all encouraged to value human life.