Funny how product advertisements can show us things such as how women view their own bodies. In this experiment in which women were asked to look in this clothing store that had labels quoted from women that said degrading things about their own body, it got them to see how many women are really self conscious of the way they look. It says a lot about this need for women to fit a certain image because of the way society says they should look. Regardless of a woman’s size and shape, we have all given ourselves the disapproving look in the mirror at one point or another. Generally, women would not be rude to another by making remarks about their appearance and body, but it is a completely different story when we think of ourselves. This video shows the need for women to be more confident in themselves and to be proud of their bodies. Weight management works for some women, but for others, it is no bother to them. Not all women want to be skinny, but rather they just want to feel comfortable in their own skin. If feeling comfortable means making changes, then it is only a matter of eating well, treating your body right, and staying active on a daily basis. Too many women feel the need to live up to a certain standard that is socially constructed by the media and advertising industries. Standards should be self-set and maintained by an open mind and positive thoughts.
The last topic we covered regarding LGBT and feminist art made me recall watching this video last year. This was odd for me to watch not because of the overall message, but because of the age of the actors portraying these characters. This short film really switches the perspective of today’s notion of “homophobia” by making it the norm and making heterosexuality frowned upon. The film, I think, tends to be overdramatic at some parts, but overall, it gets the point across that too many people are getting bullied for being open about their sexual orientation. The part where Christianity is brought into the film and how one can be deemed “sinful” because of their choice to love someone of the opposite sex (in the case of the storyline). Although, despite the slight awkwardness of the age of the actors, the issues and messages that are dominating, sadly have a lot of truth to them. The idea of children getting treated this way is sometimes difficult to picture, but all families have their own beliefs, especially parents. Luckily today, we live in a society that seems more accepting than the generations before. Unfortunately, there is still hate that lingers and this need for everyone to believe in their own egos or blame it on the teachings of Christianity that people cannot love freely. Whether or not people choose to accept or simply agree with homosexuality or being transgender, the fact is that there are still people, no matter what the label, who are judged, bullied, and verbally abused. It is what it is, and simply another perspective. It is a matter of interpretation.
This brief overview of the famous dance piece entitled, Revelations choreographed by Alvin Ailey, highlights the aspects of African American Heritage. Ailey choreographed the entirety of Revelations in the year 1960. As American history recalls, this was a very crucial time for African Americans who were fighting against society for civil rights and equality. Ailey made this piece because he wanted to show the American people that African Americans were too stereotyped and misunderstood. The dance technique he uses strays away from traditional modern and ballet styles and instead calls attention to the way African Americans move their bodies and are able to dance. The musical choice for the various pieces center around gospel and spiritual music. Each section of Revelations reflects African American heritage by showing the different personalities they possess. African American life was generally difficult during this time era, but it was this dance piece that made Americans see the talent in African Americans that they were blind to. The general American audience opened up more to the idea of seeing African Americans performing dance on a stage. Revelations was a good example of portraying what African Americans felt and experienced; they mourned through difficult times, were joyous in good times, and hopeful for new beginnings and opportunities.
SEE VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3jSLdmgKWU
Earlier in the semester, we explored some elements of spoken word and how it is executed in front of an audience. This particular poem by Ke`ala Morrell and Noa Helela performed in 2011 intrigued me because of the general message they were getting across. The piece reminded me of our section on indigenous culture but showing more serious content than what was covered when we briefly touched upon Native Hawaiian history. They spoke from the perspective of how difficult it has become for people of Hawai`i in modern times. Many of the people who live on the streets and on the beaches are of Native Hawaiian descent. In most cases, these people are “houseless” as opposed to homeless and because of this are consistently displaced by the state and on some accounts arrested by the Honolulu Police Department. In many ways this is contradictory because of the fact that Hawaiians have a right to land, but it is under the infrastructure of state taxes that outlaws the right for them to call a chunk of land their home, especially without a house over their heads.
Overall, this spoken word piece genuinely made me appreciate their pride for being Hawaiian and expressing the harsh realities of what has become of their culture, land, and home. The use of actually speaking the Hawaiian language emphasized the importance of oral tradition and being able to keep a culture alive through the act of speaking; Before Western contact, there was no such thing as a writing system. Native Hawaiians used chants and hula in place of the system that was brought by missionaries.
Law of the Splintered Paddle: http://occupyapec.com/2011/11/09/kanawai-mamalahoe/
SEE VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-En_gA0eLI
I thought this artist was an interesting find in relation to the section of the course that talked about street art. We discussed how graffiti is generally the marking of a space or territory and is a sign of ownership. So what happens when graffiti is manipulated visually through a computer to give the illusion that the tag (or signature of artist) is actually occupying space in real life. This artist does not provide his name but talks about his interest in combining the concept of graffiti with digital art. For someone that grew up doing things the old fashion way in the 80’s, he took a liking to any and all electronics in style during that era.
He goes on to explain how his love for graffiti has always inspired him since seeing it on the sides of trains when he went to school. Many people who do graffiti in the streets have talked about why they love it; the reason being that there is an adrenaline rush of whether or not they will get caught and get away with tagging. For Graffiti Technica, he uses his skills in digital media to render two dimensional works of graffiti that he can spread all over the world wide web. With the evolution of social media networks and the increasing number of people who rely on electronic devices, his work has a higher chance of spreading like wildfire than the graffiti tagged on the freeway of H-2. I think he did an excellent job of proving that graffiti is defined by its style, not always the medium of spray paint.
SEE Spoken Word VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMnOKy-ccXA
This spoken word entitled “Hapa,” reminded me of the section we most recently covered in class on Asian American art and inevitably the discrimination Asian minorities experience based on how they physically look. Initially seeing his appearance, I admit I did not expect to him to articulate his opinions so fluently as he did by half way through the poem. The speaker, Henry, puts an emphasis on the division between people who are categorized as Asian, as American, and those who are mixed as Asian American. He explains how distant he seems from the essence of his Asian ancestry and how that distance between him and his own culture can be evidently seen by those who fall under the label of Asian alone.
There was one part of his poem that stood out to me most:
“Our very existence breaks the rules of race. We are so often the children of rape. The bastard accidents of colonization. But remember we are also made from love that was called illegal.”
These powerful statements in the poem sort of makes the American in “Asian American” the dominating power that deserves to be considered first. Basically, what I mean to say is that Asians have been known to fall victim to inhumane acts and the violating effects that colonization insinuates. The last line from what I quoted above really did it for me; made me remember how judged and ridiculed Asians can be for simply being themselves, those whom white supremacy always deemed as invalid for value.
For this year’s most recent Pow Wow Hawai`i 2014, I had the pleasure of catching up with Ekundayo, also known as Dayo. Local Hawai`i resident artist that found his inspiration in his uncle’s black book when he was 13 years old, Dayo copied every single page. Every artist finds greatness after first copying the greats.
The first time I met Dayo was back in January of 2009. Since that time, I have been keeping up with his art and by doing so have had the enjoyment of seeing his techniques as an artist develop immensely over the years. Having an interest in graffiti and an education at the Art Center College of Art and Design in Pasadena, California has given him the resources and training he needed to become the artist he is today.
When I asked him what inspired his work, he told me that it is the beauty of struggle and pain. He once told me how hard it was for him growing up and that life at home was not exactly ideal, but eventually he found the love for art that would keep him from making bad choices and instead provoke him to chase after his dreams. Despite his scholarship at Art Center, he dropped out after taking foundational courses and find his path through his own hard work and determination.
Today, he is a resides in Kaimuki, Hawaii. He keeps up actively on his website and sells prints, t-shirts, and paintings to anyone who gets inspired by his work. When sorrow becomes joy, it is truly a beautiful thing.