Chubb Fellowship Lecture: Anyone Can Fly

Chubb Fellowship Lecture: Anyone Can Fly


Good afternoon, good afternoon, good
afternoon and welcome to the Chubb fellowship lecture with our
distinguished guests Faith Ringgold award-winning artist author educator and
activist today’s program is generously supported by many units across Yale
University’s campus we wish to thank African-American studies American
Studies ethnicity race and migration history of art women and gender and
sexuality studies the afro-american cultural center Center for the Study of
race indigeneity and transnational migration the school of art and we
especially wish to thank the Yale University art gallery for hosting
today’s lecture in this beautiful auditorium so thank you YUAG. Before
we begin I ask that you turn off all cell phones and refrain from taking any
photographs during the program so that you do not disrupt today’s program and
once we get started the lights will be fully dimmed so just be careful of your
surroundings when you because the lights will be off my name by the way is Mary
Lou I’m a professor in the Department of History and the program in American
Studies I’m also the current head of college for
Timothy Dwight College as the head of Timothy Dwight College I have the honor
of serving as the custodian of the illustrious chub Fellowship established
in 1941 out of a prior large donation for education purposes made in 1936 by
Hendon Chubb a graduate of the Yale class of 1895 since its establishment
the Chubb fund has appeared to the goals of providing encouragement and aid to
students interested in government and American public affairs the fellowship
initially aimed to foster among Yale undergraduates an interest in public
service in local and state affairs it grew all over the years to include
numerous distinguished visitors in national and international affairs as
well as leaders in the world of the arts and humanities
since the 1940s the Chubb fellows lecture series has inspired generations
of Yale undergraduates to undertake public service and pursue leadership
roles in the hopes of creating a better world today and for posterity the
fellowship has hosted four US presidents George W Bush Gerald Ford Jimmy Carter
and Harry Truman in recent years we’ve welcomed a wide range of national and
international leaders including environmental activist Bill McKibben
Ambassador Samantha power physician and humanitarian dr. hawa Abdi renowned
actor Shahrukh Khan an award-winning songwriter and musician Paul Simon with
this quick description of the history and aims of the Chubb fellowship I’m
delighted that we are welcoming to Yale today the distinguished artist faith
Ringgold and as our spring 2018 Chubb fellow joining faith Ringgold today are members
of her family and staff her daughter Michele Wallace is a scholar of African
American film and cultural studies and she recently retired from City
University of New York after a lovely career grace Mathews is faith pringles
assistant Kyle Mathews and Martha Whitehead are part of faith Ringgold
anyone can fly Foundation and true core volunteers we’re delighted that you were all able
to join us today born and raised in depression-era Harlem New York City
board member raised in Depression era Harlem New York City faith wrinkles
career as an artist educator writer and activist spans more than half a century
and as you can see 60 years she earned a bachelor’s degree from City College of
the City University of New York in 1955 she then taught art in New York City’s
public schools and worked on a master’s degree at City College which she
completed in 1959 in the 1960s as an art teacher in the New York City Public
Schools she began a series of paintings called American people that portrayed
the civil rights movement from a feminist perspective the painting showed
ordinary people both black and white confronting social barriers while
attempting to forge relationships in their everyday lives
she also organized a fought for works of african-american and women artists to be
included in museums and galleries she demonstrated against the exclusion of
black and female artists by New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art and the
Museum of Modern Art from 1968 to 1970 1971 faith Ringgold co-founded where we
add a black women artist group in the 1980s she embarked on projects that
employed the medium of the story quilt rooted in african-american communal
traditions of quilting and storytelling that have been critical for connecting
family store and lives across many generations works
such as the 1988 tar beach part one from the woman on bridge series are currently
in the Solomon R Guggenheim museums permanent collection and they make up
some of her best know masterpieces from this period faith Ringgold has also
produced numerous public art projects included flying home Harlem heroes and
heroines for the metropolitan transit authorities a hundred and twenty-fifth
Street subway stop for the woman’s house for the Rose M singer Center on Rikers
Island the Crown Heights children’s history quill at public school 22 in
Brooklyn New York along with many others around the New York City as well as
around the country since the 1990s she is also written and illustrated many
acclaimed children’s books such as tar Beach that was the Caldecott on her book
and winner of the Coretta Scott King award she has helped young readers
explore African American history through aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in
the sky one of my children’s favorite books dinner at aunt Connie’s house on
her civil rights activist fannie lou hamer
Mary McLeod Bethune Zora Neale Hurston and many more famous black women if a
bus could talk the story of Miss Rosa Parks won the n-double-a-cp Image Award
in 2004 adults she has published her memoir in 1995 titled we flew over the
bridge the memoirs of faith Ringgold she’s professor emeritus at the
University of California San Diego where she taught art from 1987 to 2002 she is
the recipient of more than 75 awards including 22 honorary Doctor of Fine
Arts degrees she has received fellowships and grants from the National
Endowment for the Arts John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation New York
foundation for the Arts and many more for painting and sculpture and I’m now
delighted that she can add the Chubb fellowship to her long list of
illustrious awards I’m also pleased to say that the hopper windows Commission
committee that is the hopper the windows Commission Kitty for hopper college here
on Yale’s campus and several members of which are with us today
head of college julia adams has recommended that faith Ringgold be the
artist to design new windows for the hopper dining hall and again head of college Julie Adams is
here so this is very exciting news and you are very much the first audience the
first public audience to hear this announcement it’s been circulating sort
of privately on email this week so it’s very exciting to hear the announcement
we’re looking forward to developing a conversation with faith over the coming
months so faith that chapter will be continued but for today I’m delighted to
celebrate her life’s work and her many achievements and hear her talk anyone
can fly so please join me in welcoming faith Ringgold to the podium good
evening thank you so much for inviting me and for you coming this is a great
honor I’m so happy to be here this is one of my favorite places back in the
day when I was going to college if you went to Yale you were taught stuff
especially in art okay so thank you I’m here
alright ok I’m going to in 1948 I made my first work of art that I considered
complete and the finished work of art and is that not am I not doing it
correctly oh wait a minute maybe that’s the way no nothing’s moving what am I
doing wrong there you go back I want to go back go
back just below oh oh there you go
yes thank you know they taught me at the City College of New York I was told when
I was a young kid that when I graduated from high school I was going to college
but I didn’t know which college so we walked down the street used to see these
boys rushing out of the subway at 140 Fifth Street and entacle my Avenue in
Harlem and going up the hill to convent Avenue and down the street to the City
College of New York and I said mom what can’t I go there where these boys going
she said they’re going to City College and I said well why can’t I go there she
said well you can however I didn’t know it was a boys school and so when I went
when I got to be eighteen in 1948 and went down to register at the City
College of New York that’s when I found out that I couldn’t go there and I said
what were you talking about they said no what do you want to do what do you want
to be I said be you know women didn’t work in those days be I I want to do all
right I said wait no you can’t get a liberal arts degree here because this is
a boys school so I just refused to hear that because all my life I had thought
of doing that however somebody at the college said look she can do it she can
get a Bachelor of Arts in art education and she can major in art and minor in
education and do her art and teach and in a way that was great because my
family had a lot of teachers in it they weren’t too cool on the art now the
art was a little you know if he but the teaching was fine and so I went to the
City College of New York and got a bachelor’s degree in art education and
then a master’s in a Master of Arts in art education and I am so glad that that
happened because I was able to teach children and I hadn’t planned to teach
anything I plan to do it but this way I got a chance to find out how wonderful
the children are they are the best and for those of you who teach them I’m sure
you know what had me the children fabulous now in in 1948 I was 18 and I
was a freshman at the City College and we were learning about all kinds of art
done in Europe like still life and and so on and this was the first painting
that I really thought was good you know because the teachers would tear
everything apart but um yeah so this was this is my first oil on canvas and I went on what does that mean a different
box well it’s not happening what the heck okay nothing is happening here I
need to go on more than 60 years making art and all I’m getting is one piece
I don’t know why it’s not moving I’m pushing buttons what is that yeah oh
okay go okay here in one of my classes the design oh we we had a fabulous
education at the City College in art and I think they really did a wonderful job
on teaching us and one of the things that we learned to do very well was to
create design I mean all kinds from design aspects from all over all over
the world and so okay here we we got an assignment to create a plain colored
acrylic on paper playing cards and most of the kids in the class when we came
back and we went to show our homework assignment they had created a whole deck
of cards I said women what are you doing here this is it’s not a you were not
supposed to make a deck of card is supposed to do just one
and they said we do what we want and that was there everything was very
competitive and of course the idea was they’re gonna make a deck of cards and
I’m gonna come in with my wand and you know City College was free but not if
you only do gonna do one and everywhere you go you’re gonna be in trouble so I
said okay that’s the way you all want to do it huh and I learned from that don’t
ever go in with warned of nothing make sure when you get a name you can fill up
the whole board with your staff and and I did yeah
playing coin 1948 in the 1960s I became a mature artist with the American people
series and black light the 1960s was a time when things changed in America and
will never be the same much was for the better
however there seems to be continuing longing for the one step forward two
steps backward that has been a time-worn American legacy since the 1600s I became
a mature artist okay let’s move on okay self-portrait I went into this whole
series of painting with stop signs and circles and that was very prevalent in
those days pop art was what they was saying it was and oil on stretched
canvas was my way of working and I am cradling myself for the long haul ahead
of me I was trying very hard to show my life
and to tell my story because to me that is what an artist is supposed to be
doing telling the story what on earth what’s going on art is important because you can tell
what happened to people all over the world at any time in their history from
looking at their art and I wanted to be a part of that I wanted to help to tell
the story of african-americans in America at the time when I was vivid
when I was alive and I got that opportunity to do that by becoming an
artist this is the American people series and which was started in 1963 and
went on to 1967 this is actually an image of my brother who died very early
in his life and I wanted to always remember him he
was such a sweetheart but things were rough in those days and he he could make
it he didn’t make it my poor brother gone before his time I
think I need to go faster but I don’t know how to get that happening I became
an artist because I wanted to tell my story as a black woman in America we
were in the height of the civil rights movement and I wanted my art to be a
witness to the changes that were taking place it was then that I announced my
arrival on the utt seen as no longer emerging I never liked that word
emerging I was now a mature artist if not me who if not now when
in 1967 I had my first solo show at the spectrum gallery on 57th Street in New
York City and Here I am standing between friends under the under actually this is
a across something linking women together so that
that there would be some kind of mutuality between us and not so much
hate and destruction this is the first painting in the American people’s series
I did in the summer a lot of parties to raise the during a lot of parties to
raise money for the civil rights causes like the NAACP I was staying with my
daughters and my husband in what Provincetown and it was very interesting
what was going on there the people there were colorful and interesting the images
were unforgettable I almost never forgot a face they often show up in my
paintings yes I’m still looking and things are getting more and more
interesting for members only we were trying to go to a what we trying to get
to a park this is what the check marked a church school picnic and these guys
showed up to tell us you know you’re not supposed to be here a lot of races a lot
of prejudice in different neighborhoods and so on and so I got a chance to
experience all these things and to feel the power of being an artist to record
what I saw for members only well you had to be a member
well I couldn’t be a member to all these things absolutely they wanted us to
leave we left have you ever had an experience like that well actually it
never happened to me again but I did have that first one who told us to get
the hell neighbors a lot of racism in the schools
and in the neighborhoods and all with people not wanting to live next door or
whatever could you make a painting of people who wouldn’t want you to live
within would you want to a family of people who want to keep it their way
these things have been difficult through the years and I have to try to do what I
can’t could have it click again the civil rights triangle you know the
president of the NAACP back in those days was not black know whether you know
that or not but that’s what these the triangle is about and I was right in the
middle of it and in that place where we went Martha’s Vineyard where my mother
had a friend and I started these paintings because they were very
important members of NAACP there’s a lot going on and I wanted to record my
feelings about it watching and waiting people had to you
know wait their turns to see if they could participate in what is going who
was the man at the door he’s standing there waiting for his chance to to be
heard to sit at the table so to participate who was watching and waiting
what for okay this was mr. Charlie uh I think the idea was is that he was a nice
guy so come on red blue and white arrows
pointing downward suggested that things were not gonna be all that great stop
signs and all and mr. Davis Charlie mr. trolley see this man’s hand on his
heart and his smile red stop sign red blue and white arrows pointing downwards
is he sincere I think generally he might have been but mr. Charlie was big in
1964 okay 63 and here is a whole pile up of guys
with their hands over one of them saying face why are these men piled up on top
of each other what does the position of their hands tell us it’s a way of
keeping you down who’s the man on top how will you stay
there that is an interesting question that America continues to battle with
some people want to be on top and they will do anything to stay there and it is
unfortunate that we have still so much going on that prevents people from prospering getting together and and prospering the
American dream all women wanna bring like that and you
know a guy to go with it yeah that’s it yes sorry how can you achieve it well we
find a way don’t we yeah yes I think so and I just made a you know black white
whatever um study now oh that was important a lot of young kids got into
various schools that had had previously prohibited black children going there
they would get in there and then they would forget about doing the work and
they would flunk out study now don’t forget this painting is a message to
students see the for caution signs huh see the red arrow and yellow red and
black stop sign why should you study now cuz if you don’t you gonna get thrown
out and that’s not gonna be pleasant for anybody three men on offense trying to
decide which way should they go what should they do should they do this
could you make a picture about what you did have you ever sat on the fence
could you make a picture about what you did look back on it the family playing
huh some parents wanted their schools kept segregated they had a plan to keep
them segregated for the most part their plan worked
could you make a picture of the kids at your school
schools are still quite segregated and they do it through the neighborhoods
being segregated keep this neighborhood segregated the schools can do it god
bless america this was my very first flag painting I
was trying to make a picture that looked patriotic does she look patriotic what
is patriotism all right yeah I wanted to do that portrait of an American youth I
think I already showed this one uh stop the red stop sign what does this mean
who is this young man he reminds me of my brother where his life was sort of
set up for you two of these girls are my daughters Barbara and Michelle who are
the other children well they’re kids they went to school with why are they
hiding and from whom are they hiding or are they just simply playing I wanted to
show them plain trying to be friends trying to avoid the racism that followed
children that follows continues to follow children everywhere woman looking
in a mirror okay yeah see the watercolor which the plants that the plants outside
and the moon what peeling through peeking through the leaves this is a
beautiful night and she is a beautiful woman can you paint a woman looking in
the mirror and who is she by the way she yeah this was fun to do the artist and
his model there were a lot of artists at that time who thought they
had an idea about what kind of people I should pay
don’t don’t paint this don’t paint that I do what I want oh yeah and there was
imagery that they thought was perfect and correct and imagery that they
thought was not and I thought I could do what I want what do you think of this
ongoing debate now black or just American it was a lot of discussion
about whether you should paint black people or who are the black people well
I can decide and I can make what I want and I did why is our flag bleeding yeah
the flag is bleeding why is it bleeding it’s bleeding because our Liberty our
damage to some extent our freedom is in trouble it was so difficult painting
that blood and if you’ve never tried painting blood try it
it really feels dangerous then it all of a sudden in 1967 somebody yelled black
power oh my god everybody got very upset what I mean black and power these two
don’t go together yeah something’s wrong and you see here what do you see written
in the horizontal but your head on the right what do you see all right that’s
the power and the black power was something that somebody yelled on who
was it but me Stokely Carmichael yeah that was a very
big day when that happened what happened here oh I’m doing it okay oh my gosh
that’s funny oh yeah
okay the black light series okay now this is I’ve done what what’s going on
you got me well this is my computer so now and this
is the subway on 121 5th Street and and this is this whole series the black
light series in which I wanted to change my use of colors and then dye which was
the left of the American people series was die huh which has is now in the
collection of the Museum of Modern Art after fifty year I did it fifty years
ago and they now have it because I loved Picasso and here’s Ganic ah
and we used to go there take my daughter’s there and we would look at
Guernica and so on and in my series of American people I thought I would I
wanted to do a spontaneous street riot because there was so many they would
happen I mean spontaneously riot would break
out and you would be in the middle of it you had to get the hell out the way and
blood would be in the street and when you got home nobody would have seen it
on television and it wouldn’t be in the newspaper the next day they just act
like a Dannette amazing and so I thought I’m gonna do a painting showing a
spontaneous street riot and it was inspired by Guernica which I used to
look at all the time because of riot – I mean a painting and I tried to what was
it Chase Manhattan Bank David Rockefeller Center boo to my studio to
buy my first one first painting from a bank huh from Chase and I showed them
those paintings that you just saw and they just said oh my god we can’t take
any more we have to go and okay so but I knew that David Rockefeller was gonna
send him back so go ahead so they went and when they
came back I showed them the blacklight series
what was that cool but could you go back one wait
yeah there we go and they they wanted to buy this and my mother said okay listen
no no they’re coming back they’re gonna buy something show him something they
can buy it’s a big think about it it’s a bank okay to bank you gotta you know
think about that and so I did and they liked it and they said they call it the
American spectrum no I called it the American spectrum they wanted to call it
what they had an idea it’s calling I was trying to show
America with all this different shades of people and anyway they bought it
that’s the key now titles mean a lot in art you know you gotta be very aware of
the fact that many people buy a painting based on the title very interesting
I thought and for years I used to go to the chase and right outside the
president’s office would be that painting hanging there by nineteen six
sixty seven we had reached the black is beautiful black pride black power
segments of the civil rights movement of the 1960s
I wanted to create art to show the black is beautiful skin tones of black people
we black people had never been called beautiful before but it was a raging
black is beautiful okay I’ll go for it a black image in a black background like a
white image in a white background is invisible without tonal variations so my
paintings would be dark but not black I had to add some small amount of white
pigment to my colors to give them opacity then I could add the black
pigment to darken my colors this was wonderful I loved working this way it
was magic how dark colors looked black against the white canvas but when placed
next to each other dark dull colors were clearly visible
you could see them much better I was entranced with the results I created the
following twelve canvases which I call black light black paintings of black
people and this one big black was the first one yeah that is the presence of
all color white is the absence of color and I worked with those ideas in my
color for many years and I still do accept IJ
I stop work working in oil paint because I was allergic you know yeah it’s a lot
of artists got sick from using oil paint and an acrylic paint became very
important and so I went on and on in order to make them and create clearly
defined abstract shapes can you make a face by using abstract shapes and flat
colors try it black light I called it soul sister I can’t think of a more
liberating time in my life than the 1960s it was then that I learned to wear
my hair natural oh that’s when the naturally no more hot combs in my hair
black is beautiful black pride and black power all in one suggestion yeah
everybody’s got to hear oh wow do worry about that anymore
what is it you got 5 what excuse me 5 minutes well let’s see what you got mommy and daddy let’s move on
more black light mommy and daddy 1969 keep go who’s who’s got the thing okay Nick and his guy oh here can i push
that you can push right here this button okay good
all right green black art poster oh the black art poster the Schomburg library
got that because it’s a library in Harlem and they didn’t own anything of
that so I gave him that and I was in there just recently looking for it you
know it’s very difficult to find that I gotta go back and find it can you make a
picture to express yourself without name-calling okay
I don’t know red nigga white nigga oh there was a lot of niggas yelling in
those days and I wanted to say it’s not appropriate unless you are a nigger
don’t say nigger okay you’re one okay not one don’t do it
the American spectrum okay this is the one that the chase born flag for the
moon died nigga I’m not sure who owns that now somebody does you remember what
oh it is Oh silver Stan yeah alright here we are
um u.s. America blind I just wanted to do party time I wanted people dancing
the 1970s in the seven nineteen seventies these are discovered my roots
and African art and began to paint and create art specific to my identity as a
black woman I made dolls and and masks inspired by my painting I began to write
Oh No I did this for the woman’s house I got singer singing Santa for the woman’s
house yeah oil-on-canvas well the men thought they didn’t like it very much
when they moved in and the women moved to the the woman’s house and they
painted over it in white house paint that was the problem
yeah that’s yeah that wasn’t nice they said they got tired of listening looking
at those bitches okay yeah so book but the I called the the the head of the
prison Center and he had raised $25,000 and he had that painting restored and
now it you could never know that it had been painted over with white house paint
and it is now going to be in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum not
going back to the prison no I yeah that was hard okay let’s see
what’s going on oh my god I have done so many different kinds of of kinds of
painting and these are the Tonka’s that I discovered and these are my dolls
which I do actually discovered making dolls and efforts and here is the
mosaics hollom heroes then hell what go back
with oh go back where okay okay here yes maths and dolls are really fun and I
loved making them I like I like to work in different different media huh
we flew over the bridge remember oh I wrote my memoir in 1980 had published
and it was very difficult getting that to happen and then the masks freedom of
speech commissioned by the Constitution Center to celebrate the 200 anniversary
of the Bill of Rights and it is in the collection of the museum Oh
the Metropolitan Museum of Art here’s the subway in Harlem yeah
so I’ve had a lot of opportunities to do many things and the idea is when you get
an opportunity do it and don’t turn down any opportunities that’s one thing
that’s very important to learn as you’re in college don’t decide that you
shouldn’t do it yeah this is 125th Street and what Lenox Avenue yeah these
series of of people four tricks 52 now oh no the 52 mosaics was done for the
Civic Center in California that was fun 52 images huh yeah I wanted I wanted to
create imagery of people walking in the subway all different kinds of people
dancing performing playing music whatever playing different sports yeah and I won that Commission mosaics
Commission in California so if you’re ever in LA go see it
52 images yeah make it mosaics is really fun
I painted images and mother did the ko this is echoes of Hall in my first quilt
I and I started writing on my second one who’s afraid of untrim i’ma see the
story I wrote and I wrote that story because I had written my autobiography
and could get it published and I said I know it’ll do I’ll write on my art and
when they see the art they’ll read the story that I can do I mean I will not
allow somebody to decide what my story is I will write it Sony’s quilt and on
and on woman on the bridge they said this is at Crystal Bridges right now
Museum of American Art Bentonville Arkansas Here I am with Oprah and and
Maya Oprah commissioned this painting for me to do Maya that was really nice
of her but she she doesn’t believe in having anybody see the work fortunately
for me but some people buy a work of art and
they want to hide it from the world after you know and that’s not it’s not
fair but it’s at Crystal Bridges now the museum and there I am in front of it and
that’s good d-does yeah this work won’t on a bridge
two or five double dutch on the George Washington Bridge so by the le roman
half gallery and here is dancing the loot that the whole French collection I
went to to France on several occasions and wanted to do a tribute to the
artists that I learned about the American collection the French
collection so many artists that became important in my life who I learned about
at school Denzel Washington uh invisible princess cover and my books my
children’s books very important and here are a collection of them yeah the first
offer I got was to do to our Beach and a lot of people said you know artists
don’t make children’s books and at City College they never taught us
illustration but when I got an offer to create a book with tar Beach I was
taught don’t turn down any opportunities and I didn’t and it was my first book
and now I’ve done 19 and I’m still going coming up with more yeah and Here I am
with my husband he’s in a nursing home now so keeps me a little confused if any
of you have anybody in a nursing home you know that’s kind of difficult but
without him I wouldn’t be standing here because I wouldn’t have been able to
quit my job teaching huh no I would have had to continue
without a doubt coming to Jones Road it’s my great great grandmother Susie
Shannon she lived to be a hundred and ten in there’s something that is so
amazing I she always coming to Jones Road part one when we moved to New
Jersey so that I could open a bigger studio because as an artist you know you
you outgrow a studio you fill it up and then you need another one bigger and so
then I moved to my neighbors thought I was trying to open up rooming house or
something I couldn’t understand why they thought
that but didn’t matter you know they were gonna try to keep me from moving in
but I got in anyway so I did a tribute to them coming to Jones Road we just
people coming just keep sorry under a blood red sky commissioned by
the Metropolitan Museum of Art huh yep that’s right and there’s pretty
dedicated to you I had a dedicated to him because without him we couldn’t have
moved to Joan’s room because I couldn’t afford that yeah we’re here on em you
got us now coming to Georgia Road acrylic on canvas a symbol of freedom to
a couple trying to get married they had to secrete themselves in the woods in
order to to get married in those days during slavery escape to freedom Harriet
Tubman I went to give tribute to some of these women who were so heroic during
those days Nott luther king wonderful framed in a tub mother made this danke
for me and I didn’t have a painting ready for it and she said oh that
doesn’t matter it doesn’t need a painting you could just hang who talked
about that she was too much oh she’s too much mama can sing Papa can blow every
all artists did jazz pictures of some kind and I hadn’t done any until 2000
something I had made a jazz picture yeah something like that right
yeah and it’s really very popular for it is to create jazz pictures somebody
stole my broken heart and now I’m making lots of cool
and a letter from Martin Luther King while couldn’t find here in Birmingham
City Jail he was told you know why are you coming here causing trouble that’s
why you’re in jail so he did that series of letters and I got asked to illustrate
them and I did that was a great fun and it turned out to be I think eight books
by a print a work show the right to vote yeah with counties without a single
negro registered to vote you look back on
these times Oh police brutality viewed through stained-glass windows who
worships here who is their God Martin Luther King this this is the subjects
that he sent to this minister who said why are you here
causing trouble that’s why you’re in jail and he said I’m here and he
expressed some of the things that had happened in America that made him get
arrested police brutality view through stained-glass windows for more than two
centuries are for parents labored in this country without wages and here is
the bus boycott now this one here probably it’s very it’s the Declaration
of Independence because it was created interesting at a time when there was
still slavery in America and so I did this series of paintings I’ve borne
thirteen children in seen most all sold off to slavery and
when I cried out with my mother’s grief nothing but Jesus heard me and he died
when they said all men are created equal I added and women ain’t IA woman speech
presented by Sojourner Truth in 1851 in Akron Ohio this was so fun to do and
there is a painting you know okay yeah this this was a very wonderful
experience doing the absolute Tyranny understanding this what could I say also
absolute Tyranny what was going on a lot with the people hanging from the trees
taxes on us without our consent oh we have appealed to the native
justice and magnanimity Phaedra Douglas I was brought up to understand that in
America my freedom was not more than a promise that would be a struggle and
could be in many instances denied these are all things I really wanted to do yes
we can and we did yeah it’s too bad we couldn’t have our first woman president
maybe wouldn’t have so many problems like we have today but what can I say somebody didn’t do it I did I went
boating for now I did I’m sorry I voted for her I voted for him I vote for her
unfortunately yes indeed now this is a sculptor who did this at some Museum and
asked different people to paint the sculpture and I painted these and came
to him of Obama I’m wondering you know just has he ever seen this well you
don’t know I don’t know yet flag stories now the flag stories I did because I
woke up one morning and and and and these were planes flying into these
buildings and I thought it was some kind of advertisement but it wasn’t it was it
was 9/11 when Tuesday morning we faced the devil in the sky and told him that
freedom will never die and I just I couldn’t believe I was seeing what I was
seeing and I just kept doing these flags because I
just overwhelmed oh my goodness I couldn’t believe it my darling we are
facing the devil in the sky a hateful man with a what a terrible plan
that all of us shall die oh my this was such a frightening morning on Tuesday
morning you called me from the burning sky you’re searing words of pain will
forever remain encrusted in my heart my darling we are facing the devil in the
sky a hateful man with a hellish plan for all of us to die there is a mountain
in every Valley but is there a safe haven in the sky if so we will try if
not my darling I love you good but that was a horrible morning when these people
were dying when these planes and oh my god too much a lie
Tuesday morning 911 hope that never happens again
I just kept making flags I didn’t know what else to do well do tell 9/11
suicide bombers and heavy we think not heavens not where they’re at there’s
been a huge mistake but for heaven’s sake what’s a little sin we will get you
in and we can double-dating in hell yeah the idea of that whole thing was
just cuckoo freedom flight so you’re the 19 men we’ve been waiting
for well I’m the devil and here’s what Hell has in store 90 bitches on a bed of
coals and a million hags with tortured souls serial killers assassins rapists
murderers and more with an eternity of time for you to enjoy and enjoy and
that’s what happened on 9/11 when 19 suicide bombers went to hell oh yeah
this was oh this was such a day there’s too much they just couldn’t stop
I I couldn’t believe it and then after I
began to believe it I couldn’t stop stop doing it and I made
this series for the ACLU of posters channel 13 and okay we could have some questions good okay hi thank you so much that was just
wonderful I spoke to you earlier I’ve been an art educator for years and every
child who ever sees your work celebrates it and loves it and the messages are so
fantastic I just wondered if there was ever a subject that you would like to
cover that you’ve never painted I can’t think of one at this point because I’m
87 so there used to be some but not anymore no I got a chance and I’ve done
it everything I want to do I’m working on my game quilt aduke oh and if you
know Sudoku how many people know Sudoku well quilt otoko is a lot like it you
just go on iTunes and what’s the other google play and type in quilt to do KO
quu ilt you do you okay oh and you can play my game it’s so fun because with
Sudoku when you get finished the only thing you’ve got are 81 numbers and you
throw that paper out but with quilt to do code you’ve got a poster you can put
on the wall okay it’s gonna be fun “What’s your favorite thing about art?” I
like the power of creativity that I am able to create something out of my own
imagination that has never been done before by me that’s what I like about it
it’s it you a feeling of power that is very
memorable I love creating art and I love Milan yeah I do I love it
I don’t try to please other people with my art I’m happy when they are pleased
but as an artist I think it’s important that you love
what you’re doing you love it because you have no idea what other people want okay thank you for the pleasure
an afternoon of beautiful beautiful work thank you
well I want to ask a very serious question at this time okay because as a
as a nation we are in deep deep trouble and I wonder if you think that replacing
the arts in the curriculum will help reduce school shootings we weren’t
replacing the art in the curriculum between art back Oh putting art back in
turns that’s interesting I’m wondering if children are losing their sensibility
there what do you think that’s the reason why they’re shooting each other
and their love for themselves and love yes for Humanity for the world for
creativity for yeah I don’t know is is the art out of the schools completely at
this point it’s coming out it’s going down though right unfortunately you know
children have have such an ability to create art with me little and to be
denied that opportunity is sinful so that if they
don’t get it in school as parents you have to make sure they get it at home
because it’s in them I know they’re not getting the music either huh they’re not
getting the music they are getting the music okay okay well what can I say
that’s unfortunate if they are being denied the ability to be created and to
tell their story I wasn’t going to speak but I’m very compelled right now I’m an
art teacher and I’m a survivor of the Sandy Hook school shooting and five
years ago I got to meet faith Ringgold and she validated
so much of what I had experienced and I came to her because it was tar Beach
that allowed my students to fly above the pain and the horror and I can’t say
enough about how you have influenced to this day you are influencing children’s
idea of what it is to create in to be and to fly and I can’t thank you enough
for that thank you yeah if anyone can fly all you got to do is
try that’s right thank you very much for telling me that yeah so I guess as someone who now for a
very long time has not only been a part of but shaped conversations on race and
gender and belonging I think a couple of people have commented on the fact that
in certainly in America but I think the world in general it has I mean you know
they’ve never had its way to begin with but is certainly more wayward than it’s
been in a while and I’m wondering what you have to share about being in the
center of that conversation for a world which doesn’t want to be having it right
now well you just have to be forceful and find ways that are unique to you to
bring love and truth into the world and especially to the children they have a
right to embrace the world as children they need to to have the world open to
them to have opportunity to learn and without it oh my god that is so awful I
can’t imagine how it must be to not be able to see the world as so many of us
have taken for granted because as you get older you’re going to become more
and more aware of what you have missed let’s hope it doesn’t continue but we
have to do something about it and we think that one thing we could
do is get rid of what’s going on at the White House yeah I mean the children
can’t do that somebody’s got to do it and you know how unfortunate I mean I
just think about how I would feel if I if there’s a child I had had somebody in
the White House like that must be horrible just think about it so we can change it though if we get
together we can do it I think so do you agree yes yeah
so I would liked to once more thank the wonderful faith Ringgold thank you so much thank you thank you
thank you

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