Friday, March 9, 2018

The Lion Dance at San Diego State University: Celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year

Hello to China,

It's been an interesting new year celebration for me. This is a quick post to share one of my experiences.  Thank you to the Confucius Institute at SDSU
for food, beverages, and literature to start my inquiry into the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

So far, I 've been researching the fascinating Chinese Lunar New Year for only a couple of weeks

My knowledge journey started with a procession along one of our San Diego State University's campus streets. We are a very diverse campus that appreciates and embraces its complex local, national, and global spectrum of students, staff, and faculty.

As sounds of celebration got closer and closer, I recognized the drumming style; then, I saw the lions.

                          Following one of the Lions at SDSU

Instantly energizing, two lions paraded down the street walking and dancing to the drums. I was talking to professor P. Johnson and Dr. Anta Merritt, two of our Africana Studies professors. The lively, precise, thundering of the drum patterns drew a crowd onto the street. The performers, who had been on the other side of campus, came to a  stop at the ground floor level of the Arts and Letters
Building. I stopped talking and followed.
The lions' rhythmic movements filled the "open stage area." This traditional celebratory dance is exciting!

Happy New Year!
Delores Fisher

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Brenda De Flanders Black History Spotlight 2018

In honor of Black History month, I am taking a different approach this year. Hello to all my regular readers. Thank you for continuing to follow my blog. We are close to the 20,000 mark! 

A special hello to new Notesong/Carpenoctum readers and followers in Ireland, Poland, Croatia, Denmark, Pakistan, Croatia, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Today I present to you San Diego award winning artist, community elder, and teacher: Brenda De Flanders.

                                             Brenda De Flanders

We met as background scene workers, decorating the Malcolm X Library's main event room for a private auction benefit/fundraiser sponsored by the Friends of Malcolm X Library, community members dedicated to library outreach, cultural, and educational support. Brenda De Flanders has deep wisdom, knowledge, insight, and life experiences to share.

She creates figurative works with pencil, charcoal, and other mediums, and is noted for her abstract works. She is also  celebrated for creation of memorial masks Below are two memorial masks for beloved choreographer Danny Scarborough. The mask is 48" from crown to Raffia

              Memorial mask for Danny Scarborough

                       Memorial mask for Danny Scarborough

and a member of  the city of San Diego's artistic vanguard, Brenda De Flanders seems to posses a unique creative energy. 
Brenda De Flanders Bio and Artist Statement 
Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi, De Flanders has lived in San Diego since 1964. She completed course work in Speech Communications from San Diego State University, and completed courses  in Graphic Communications and Sereography. Her work has been displayed at KPBS and KGTV’s televised specials, and Villa Montezuma Museum, the “Women of Courage” photographic exhibition, the San Diego Art Institute, the Hyde Gallery, the Social Movement Gallery (Nashville, Tennessee) and the Brushwork Gallery, and many other places. 

“De Flanders has served as the Resident Artist for C. O.V.A. (Combined Organizations for the Visual Arts), the San Diego City School’s Young at Art Program, Carlsbad Elementary Program for Deaf Students, and the Art Director and founding partner for Baobab Publication and Mixed Media Art Studio and Gallery.”

I approach my canvas from a philosophical perspective. Artist draw upon the energy forces in our immediate environment, our larger society and the greater universe in order to create the works that sometimes makes us living legends. Therefore, to maintain the balance in all these life forces, we must give something back to life - to society. I am a multimedia artist, I work in twelve mediums. And in addressing my responsibility to society, I set goals in approaching each project beyond that of merely achieving aesthetic balance in my use of shape, form, space, color, and composition. 
Sometimes I attempt to entertain, and sometimes to educate; sometimes to share feelings of sorrow, and sometimes to share feelings of joy; I sometimes reflect on times past and sometimes project into the future; and I often present my interpretation of current times. Above all I strive to be honest with my audience about my gut thoughts and emotions about what ever subject I present
                                           “MAMA IS BAD!”
“MAMA IS BAD!” was completed in 1983. It is a tribute to all black mothers, who have  survived hardships, pain, sorrow, and feelings of helplessness watching their men, sons and daughters unlawfully beaten; railroaded through our Judicial  system,  and public murdered by the very people that is supposed to be protecting them - just like their fathers before them -during and continuing after slavery.  The black mother has exhibited such strength in light of all adversities her family endures, she been the backbone of the family

        "MAMA IS BAD!" by Brenda De Flanders

                                   “SOUTH AFRICAN FREEDOM SERIES”
The tragedy of Apartheid is evident in my South African Freedom Series, a collection of two paper collages and eight pencil sketches. The intent of these works was to increase public awareness of the plight of black Africans under the system of Apartheid in South Africa. Concerned about Apartheid, I struggled with my own conscious about what could I do as an individual. After listening to Representative Ron Dellum speak about Apartheid, I decided to use my art work to protest. It was a quiet protest because I wanted to deal with the intellect. I didn’t want to incite, but to excite to action – I wanted to see people using their heads, guided by their hearts.

  "Intoxication Escape From Supplication" by Brenda De Flanders

              "Servant On Call"  by Brenda De Flanders

                                         “In the Mix”
The work, “In the Mix”, depicts the level of control I had over life in my household, despite raising my seven year old son, while also caring for my mother suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease. ( I cared for her for eleven years), and my baby brother, the last five years of those eleven years.

                      "In the Mix"   By Brenda De Flanders

           Things Fall Apart
Everything just worked for schedule, family life, and my stress was at a moderate level. The work “Things Fall Apart” addresses what my response to what life for me had become, once my brother’s health began to decline. My mother, knew what was happening, even though her brain was like cottage cheese, this being her  ninth year with Alzheimer’s. She never saw his body, nor did I talk about him in her presence, yet she knew, and tears started flowing down her face and she stopped eating and would not take fluids. 
I had a difficult time dealing with my emotions, and physically having to deal with caring for both my young son along with my brother and mother (I cared for them alone). My baby brother died first – Jun 9, 1994(in two months he would have been thirty five years.) I verbally fought with my mother trying to get her to eat or drink, when I told her that I wasn’t ready to loss her and Ron at the same time. I told her that daddy fought with every inch of his life (he had cancer); I stated that I loved her, and that I needed her in my life NOW; that I wasn’t ready to lose her. 

This argument made the difference; she immediately began eating and drinking fluids. Mom lived two more years; she passed December 1, 1996. Both of them died in my arms, as did my father.

                       "Things Fall Apart" by Brenda De Flanders

Additionally, in her words, this is a slimmed down version of my bio sketch and artist statements, it is more than what you requested. In actuality, I have eight different artist statements, depending on the subject.  "A good deal of this information is for you to get a feel for who I am as an artist. This is only one fourth of what I have done and been a part of, as a.San Diego California artist.

                                                  Delores Fisher    

Celebrating one month among many and an artists among too few.

Happy Black History month,
Delores Fisher

Friday, January 12, 2018

2018 It's January--the "New" Year

                                   Delores Fisher at the Poetry Tree

Somewhere in corners of my mind that have dust bunnies and robots playing together in symbiosis,
a tiredly echoing phantasm of Amiri Baraka sighs loudly: the changing same".  Friends tell me that it is really a good thing that I have been working on course content and a syllabus for each class over the last few days. I missed a socio-cultural political talking point event. It's now a global incident---sadly perhaps not worth spiritual or emotional repetition.

  And so. . . .another time cycle begins for many of us.

A bright light on an international level, hello and welcome to the Shen Yun performers of China.

They are bringing their yearly wondrous talents and performance to San Diego   This year's show promises to be even more exciting than last year.

On the local San Diego California scene . . . .I had breakfast with poet activist Jim  Moreno early this month at the Big Kitchen We tried last year but illness and schedules just didn't co-ordinate. His poetry is even more insightful and passionate.

                                                     Poet Jim Moreno

Listened in awe of his word-craft last month at Gelatos Open mic  hosted by Ying W. and Andy P. in San Diego California  when international poet Olga Gutierrez-Garcia featured ( we co-featured a few pieces together, in reminiscence of our 4nth poetry group). She's in planning an international tour and will co-feature with me in February at a local San Diego open mic.
                                                 Olga Garcia at 54th and Lex

Jim and I talked about our current lives as we relived our youth, when mentors embraced us, nurtured us, corrected us because they prophetically saw productive young adults in the rough. They saw us as more than we were.

We spoke about Jihmye Collins and his wish that all could be whole or on a path of healing.  Jim Moreno  hosts an open mic. It has features by poets like Broadway's Reg. E. Gaines as well as local poets. Reg E. Gaines' innovative poetic collaborations have rocked the San Diego, New York, and national scene for years!

 Jim Moreno hosts 2nd Tuesday Poetry Open Mic  at Club Cabaret in honor of Jihmye Collins' work as poet, teacher, activist, mentor, and friend.

The Big Kitchen's food is nurturing and very much comfort food. Judy the Beauty was away visiting friends, a well deserved pause to her active life as founder and mother energy  of the restaurant.We ate generous servings, drank tall glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice and talked for a couple of hours. It was a good early morning interlude.

                                                                    Jim Moreno

 It seemed appropriate, considering how long we have been poets on the scene, to do a little creative editing to one of the photos-- make it look as if we took it during the early years of the Big Kitchen.

                  Delores Fisher and Jim Moreno at the Big Kitchen 2018

When we said our good byes, hugged, and continued our day, I felt renewed. Good company and early morning sunshine does that to me. I walked around the neighborhood, getting used to my new crutches and mobility. Several blocks later, a poetry tree's branches extended free poetic greetings.

                                                          The poetry Tree

Artistry, poems of inspiration.  With a smile I continued my walk. It was a good day.

As for 2018 . . . . perhaps if we continue to value our humanity 2018 will fill us with hope in times of desperation, courage while sorrowful,  faith when experiencing overwhelming doubt, tolerance during misunderstanding, grace when willful selfishness, spiritual discernment through confused anguish, and joy with humble celebration.

                 Happy "New" Year,  Delores Fisher from California