But that is how we roll.
And it is time we reflect on how extremely important it is, that we start to grow and consume our own food.
Value the home-grown cultural production, especially as we celebrate the anniversary of our independence.
And especially as we need to refrain from a relapse into colonial mindsets.
And so I ponder BINOMIUM. The 416 page book-inside-the-outlook-inlook of Yasser Musa and Michael Gordon. Both from Belize City, and separated by everything else and joined by everything art.
Here, two men, whose tireless art production is incessant, provocative and important.
Why provocative? Well who sells rubber boots in a drought?
They do, because there is no way one should accept 'culturelessness.' There is no way, you shouldn't tell others to desire boots, to show them, that there was life before the water dried up, and people stopped looking inward, and forgot their culture. Before they started to accept semi-stale IVs from North America, the Caribbean, Europe any thing from anywhere instead of eating locally grown and fresh, and relevant cultural sustenance.
I remember in second form at St. Catherine Academy, Sister Rose Rivero told us, well asked us really, if we ever wondered why "we buy canned sardines, instead of going to the seaside and fishing."
At fourteen, I considered it, but didn't give it the depth of pondering it required.
Why do we do that indeed? Have you ever thought about that?
How much Belizean food do you eat? How much Belizean cultural calories do you consume in a day?
I'm not scolding, I eat junk food too. I even feast on delicacies from everywhere else, just as you do. I dream of art in San Francisco, and Barcelona, and wine, kotch and twerk. I listen to reggae more than I even listen to my own cultural beat: Punta Rock. So as I am guilty as you are, let me first say, guilty and flawed as I am, I recognize the importance of BINOMIUM.
Now mind you, this started out as a facebook post, so please excuse my familiarity and utter lack of the necessary gravitas, one should have when they critique art.
They are big without pretense. They are working even if you see or not. I respect them. Mikky G, you bigga dan yuh kno breddah. Much love!
Yasser Musa taught me at St. John's College Junior College, so many years ago, and I can say, that was the VERY first time, I was made to realize expression in an unbiased way. In his Understanding Art course, he presented Gustav Klimt and Micheal Gordon, Gilvano Swasey and Chuck Close, Michelle Perdomo and Georgia O'Keefe, George Gabb and Pablo Picasso.
There was no question of High Art (the art with a Capital A, which I read about in the Story of Art by E. H. Gombrich), expression was not weighed out based on its geographical position on market day.
Art (expression) was expression and was valid and important, from whichever direction it came.
I will always thank him for that. I will thank him also for valuing individuals on their potential contribution to the politics of culture. It is not about how high or low you are, it is about what you can bring to the table, what you can build, and equipping or directing people towards resources.
Micheal Gordon, I met when, after taking art classes at SJCJC, I was given the novel experience of seeing the workings of the Image Factory Art Gallery, that was about 11 years ago. And I must say, I have garnered so much wisdom from seeing these artists operate, share, exhibit, talk, think and work.
Michael Gordon, I will say here, believe me or not, is someone I go to for clarity.
People may want to put him in a box. The box they reserve for rare and odd things, rare and odd people even.
You miss out if you do that.
Micheal Gordon is truth. What he sees and feels; he paints, and I have been honoured to see the world as he sees it, through his paintings. His perception. Few artists have been able to invite you inside their eyes (and heart's eyes) in that way.
Micheal Gordon on August 15, 2014 had the biggest art exhibit I have ever seen in all my 29 years.
He filled the Image Factory Art Gallery with a tiny fraction of his work.
What?! Yes, that filled room is only a very small portion of his work.
He works tirelessly. He works, because all us artists must work. Because we should, but more than that, because we must.
At the press conference the question was: "Where is Michael Gordon?"
"How could he not show for his own show?"
Anyone who bothered to look at the walls would know, that beyond Mikky being there, we, maybe we, were not there, but we were inside his mind, his thoughts, his eyes and his heart.
Few artists transcend my experience like that.
BINOMIUM was grown here, from here, for you and of you.