BY OMAR HAWKINS Earlier this year I received a mailing from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program announcing a kickoff event for a new outdoor exhibition called OPEN SOURCE.
I’m already a fan of the Mural Arts Program, having taken their trolley tours through various areas of the city on multiple occasions. The mailer boasted of a Friday evening event with outdoor art, skateboard demos, live music, along with food and drinks provided by local food truck operators. Sounded like a winning combination to me!
Paine’s Park was the venue. 6-9pm on June 9th. And the subject, Skateable Sculptures.
(Click on the header or the link below to read and see more dope pics from the OPEN SOURCE exhibit.)
The double gongs were used by the oba (king) during the Emobo ceremony to drive away evil spirits. The carvings on this gong, one of only 6 known to exist, depicts the oba supported by his military commander and his heir. This is one of the oldest surviving African ivory sculptures.
This figure most likely stood on an altar dedicated to a deceased oba. His attire indicates that he is a court official and the leopard tooth necklace was only worn by warriors. The horn that the figure once held may have been used for ceremonial purposes.
The Walt Disney – Tishman African Art Collection is an ongoing exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. The collection is well-known for the rarity of its items from sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Smithsonian site, these artistic masterpieces have been an important step in defining the field of African art history – both in the United States and globally.
Kwanzaa, created in 1966, is the modern reincarnation of the African first-fruit harvest celebrations observed from December 26 to January 1. Growing up as an African living in America, I have always felt that sense of homelessness and duality that so many African-American academics write about and discuss. Last year, I decided to create a list of holy days that I felt called to observe and not just blindly celebrate those the government deemed worthy enough to grant official. On that list I wrote Kwanzaa and this is the first year that I have ever celebrated it.