Ilse (age 14) and I were in London and she wanted to go on a bus tour. It was not something I ever would have done because I hated being visibly marked as a tourist. (I’m less self-conscious now than I was then.) She was grumpy about everything, as only a fourteen year old can be. Finally, I agreed to the bus tour. It was a grey day but as we emerged onto the top deck the sun came out and Ilse’s face lit up: “It’s so beautiful!” she exclaimed, over and over, as we drove past the sites of London. Later, she drew this picture of us on the bus tour.
Sometimes I just use this blog as a notebook or commonplace book to save things I want to think about. This Interview article, “Amending American History with Titus Kaphar” by Eloise Blondiau (Dec. 2016) is one. In one example of his work (screenshot above), the artist Titus Kaphar copied a painting of the founder of Yale and friends with a small black slave in the background, then crumpled the copy except for the face of the child which he put in an ornate gold frame. As the author of the article says, “His paintings and sculptures continually interrogate how narratives of American history either forget black people or malign them.” And, as the artist himself says, “My point is that it’s not so different now. I’m not saying that things aren’t better. Thank God they’re definitely better, but some things are still the same. “Better” is not good enough—it’s not. Especially when “better” still means my life is at risk.”
A lot about storytelling here and the idea that each time something is represented or its story told, it changes a little. What kind of changes can we make consciously that enable us to have new insight of present or past events?