|The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of family too small.|
Black history month
is here! Happiness to all of you as Black folks share our walk to here.
I love, love, love that Black History Month contains other memorable days such as my birthday, Groundhog Day, Family Day, and Valentine’s Day.
I have work on exhibit at T-buds for the month of February 2016.
T-buds | February 2016 (extended to March 3rd at 11am)
3343 Yonge St, Toronto ON M4N 2M6 · 647-352-3624
a really great place to take your Valentine
Friday February 12, 5-8pm
(It was great! My best art event to date! Thanks to all who attended and purchased works of art!!!)
It’s a great show in a cosy location. Lush, comfy seating, soothing teas and they even serve spiced coffee upon request. The most wonderful staff you have ever encountered ever. No exaggeration at all. And you know my standards are pretty high... well, very high.
The exhibition will include portraits of three fabulously talented Black musicians:
|An Ella Moment|
I’m mixing it up folks. Mix up! Mix up! I added wire faces to the exhibition. These expressive mixed media images always make people smile. Purchase a one of a kind wire face for $95. See??? You can invest in wonderful, original art for less than $100.
Usually there is a deep, philosophical reason for the combination of pieces that I include an exhibition. And in this case there is as well. Because it’s Black History Month, I’m doing it this way. It’s about colour harmony, colour combination. The use of colour on different materials. And portraits of people real and imagined who had something to say. Something to share. Something to tell you. There is something that your history is telling you here.
A young man about ten years old told me when he saw Wire Guys that he’d never seen anything like that in his life. “Wow!” he said. "How did you think of that?"
Years ago, I realized that all the years I spent studying Art History, (as a required credit in Fashion Design, Ryerson School of Fashion and Graphic Design, George Brown College) had blurred my memory. Learned history sunk so deep into my psyche that I now believed art I created were original ideas. I think that had something to do with being barely awake during history class.
Why schedule a lecture with still images at 8am in the comfortable seating of a theatre? Don't get me wrong! I loved the information. I brought a lovely coffee. I curled up in the dim lighting. I fell into a trance and I remembered it all differently than I had expected. Hee hee!
A remarkable talent!
Playful, wonderful, balanced, spacious.
It seems he greatly influenced my fascination with wire.
It seems he greatly influenced my fascination with wire.
I am going somewhere else, though. You’ll see as I go.
An Image from a Patron of the Arts
My pal, J, now has my work in her collection. She is an outstanding individual who between acting gigs and extra work on set, studied and strategized. She’s now a criminal lawyer in New York. I mean, I’m telling you about her, not only because she’s a gifted actress, former CBC personality and world traveler. Not just to prove how cool and connected I am, but to show you this photo.
|I looked at this photo and thought, “Wow!” It looks like fun and joy and love happen in there! Offset by a gorgeous antique, J has placed Circle of Family above it. Thank you, my Love for sending me this picture! And thank you for your patronage!|
Groundhog day was my competition growing up. People who are born on Christmas have it worse, I know, but Capricorns often think they do! Lol. Just bugging you, H, R and M. You’re good people.
So at recess, people wondered if I had seen my shadow. I owned it. You have to. It’s the only way to survive. Growing up as a Black woman in Mississauga in the 70s, I had to be bold. We were immensely outnumbered when when encountered racist violence, discrimination, verbal abuse, theft and the list goes on. Imagine being judged, immediately measured and reacted to extremely negatively based on nothing you did, said. No history with that person except the cultural history of our ancestors. But I you're born in Canada. And... your four or five and you’re literally just trying to walk to school.
The school I went to in Mississauga, I think had another Black family. Yes. Just one. So that means that there were five black students out of hundreds. The neighbourhood barely had any Black families at all when I was in Kindergarten.
My older brother who is nine years older than me used to walk us to school. There were these two white boys around my age who would walk behind me call me names and then grab my arm and physically stop me from crossing the street to get to school. I don’t remember the trauma associated with being a girl and having two boys grab me to fight with me. I don't recall expecting anyone to come to my defense on a busy street where many parents walked their kids to school. Big Bro, told the kids to stop. When they didn't listen, he told me to run.
Later he explained to me that they were too young for him to beat up. We knew from past experience that he would get in a lot of trouble for doing so. It had already happened.
So this little Black girl with perfect bows in her hair and a lovely girly dress, who took piano lessons, learned to sew, bake, garden, knit and crochet also learned to throw down the racists after a very stressful harassing walk home from school. It was Mississauga in 1974. It was fun. It was hilarious. I was strong and agile, talented, a good fighter. And sadly folks, it was absolutely necessary.
Combat training in the basement was intense, man. I'm not gonna tell you the secrets. Everyone has their own way of releasing toxic energies directed at them. I remember learning to fight. I remember kicking high and low. I remember being taught how to deliver a punch I remember beating the crap out of those little racist kids who thought they could stop anyone in the Frank family from crossing the street to learn to read and write and calculate.
We didn't find the racists later and 'remind' them never to ever touch anyone in our family again. We didn't start a gang of the three or five Black families we knew were there and teach those little bugger to respect us. We didn't need to. They got the message. The little cute girl, had kicked their asphalt.
We just wanted to learn. We liked learning. Education was and is really important in my family. We simply wanted to walk unencumbered to school and learn. We were looking forward to playing with our friends that day. Everyone else just crossed the street. Just walked to school. They weren't followed for blocks and called names. We just wanted that too. Black kids in the burbs can do that now, I hope. I hope it's fine now. It could have gone a lot of ways, folks. And in that spirit, I thank my family for raising a romantic artist with the spirit of a fighter. And it is my absolute pleasure to share these stories with you.
It didn't feel political at all back then, it was just a part of growing up Black in a predominantly white neighbourhood where too many of the Caucasians did not want you around. Everyone who grew up like that has a story or two that most Canadians will dismiss or excuse because we don't want to admit that things are as vile as they often are.
Being treated inappropriately based on a two second scan happens to many different kinds of people. Just yesterday, I had to help my neighbour get her apartment key from our Supers who added a level of complication to the process. The landlord and I had a wee talk. I stood beside her while she knocked on the door was ignored. And I spoke to the landlord on her behalf. No way, I'm going to witness a new wave of that garbage go down.
It was completely wrong. They simply resisted allowing her access to her apartment when she locked herself out. It would have taken way less energy to just hand over her key. She's from India. She already has a black belt. It's not about that. When facing such insanity, I say, "How long? Too long!"
Our team efforts made it possible for her to get her keys. I even got a follow up call from the buliding owner to ensure that the problem had been solved. In thanks, my lovely neighbour brought a Chocolate birthday cake with a glowing single candle to my door. I'd photograph it, but I ate it all. I gave her a tiny, little piece. It was delicious!!
There is a huge reason it matters to me to come together in February – to check in, to compare stories, to receive support, to be acknowledged because many, many, many, many, many evil things still happen daily. And we move forward achieving success despite that because success is the best revenge. And we move to create policy, laws, publish, teach and mentor because we know better than to simply accept the unacceptable.
Like Mohammed Ali
acrylic on canvas
s imone4king @ gmail.co m
Because racism is illegal. So let’s not tolerate it. Let’s not.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly, consider contacting the:
You can also contact them by telephone at :
TTY toll-free: 1-866-607-1240
The office answers the phone on Thursday's from 2pm - 5pm
You will need to provide dates and or times of incidents, names, etc. They will also ask you in their terms what settlement would satisfy you. I heard through the grapevine of a Caucasian young woman who received a settlement of $10,000 for unfair treatment by her employer. Maybe Google has more info about that.
Give them the power. If you are perceived as having an attitude, the call may be terminated.
Call when you're calm, clear, extremely patient and courteous or what's the point?
Best of luck!
If you would rather retain a lawyer, you can start you search at:
Click here to go there: https://lsrs.lsuc.on.ca/lsrs/
Many thanks to anyone who created an event for people of any culture to celebrate our heritage and to learn of our historical and current achievements. Kids of all ages need to see it and to participate! Use your gift!!!
|Sold this one at the opening of Self Defense|
Being referred to as a groundhog was better than the alternative so I don’t mind being called one. It is literally the silliest thing in the world. I forgot to look for my shadow yesterday, I was too busy fighting another cold and Lupus flare combo. Fun times!!
Upon further research, there are some other really interesting things about February 2nd.
Here are some other February celebrations.
“Imbloc (Candlemass, Imblog, Imbole) - February 2nd
It is the day that we celebrate the passing of Winter and make way for Spring. It is the day we honour the rebirth of the Sun and we may visualize the baby sun nursing from the Goddess's breast. It is also a day of celebrating the Celtic Goddess Brigid. Brigid is the Goddess of Poetry, Healing, Smithcraft, and Midwifery. If you can make it with your hands, Brigid rules it. She is a triple Goddess, so we honour her in all her aspects.”
“Participants would light candles to brighten a dreary time and watch weather conditions on festival day for portents of what lay ahead.” This according to Chris Scott, chief meteorologist at the Weather Network.
The festival is called Candlemas [because] this was the day that all the Church's candles for the year were blessed.
Early European noticed that “...animals had hibernation patterns that naturally brought them out of hiding around the time of Candlemas.
When German settlers began immigrating to the U.S. in the 19th century, they adapted Candlemas traditions to their new home with one simple innovation — letting the area's native groundhogs do the forecasting.
Year of the Red Monkey
According to my pals at Wikipedia, “Family Day is a public holiday in South Africa, and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, in theAmerican states of Arizona and Nevada, in Vanuatu, in Vietnam, (as "Family & Community Day") in the Australian Capital Territory, and as the second day of Songkran in Thailand.”
“Nearly two-thirds of Canadians reside in a province that observes a statutory holiday on the third Monday of February - the second Monday, in British Columbia. The holiday is called Family Day in four provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario), Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, and Islander Day in Prince Edward Island. There is no federally established Family Day.
“This holiday was first observed in Alberta in 1990, followed by Saskatchewan in 2007 and Ontario in 2008. On May 28, 2012, the BC government announced that Family Day would be observed on the second Monday in February each year, starting February 11, 2013.
As a new holiday, there are no traditional activities that are associated with the day. Canadians use the long weekend for whatever purpose they like.”
Last year, I blogged about the origin of Black History Month including links to further information. If you’d like to know more, la voilà:
That’s all for now!
This is going to be a great month for loads of people!