Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thoughts on cultural things...

This morning I ran across a blog post that railed against the idea of people wearing cultural stereotypes as halloween costumes... ok, implying that because you're wearing a turban your a terrorist is generally a bad idea - I agree - but they seemed to go further, implying that mimicking another culture (in largely any way) makes you racist. "Dressing up as 'another culture,' is racist, and an act of privilege."

wow. If that's the case then I have one messed up hobby, researching and mimicking historical cultures regardless of my own ancestral background. eesh...

I consider myself a fairly respectful person, so the idea that I am behaving in such a disrespectful manner worried me. I find myself practicing some shower philosophy... mulling this whole thing around in my head while I wash my hair.

I've run into it before, primarily in college during women's studies - the idea that some one who is from a historically priveledged background can not possibly engage with other cultures without being imperialistic and racist or sexist. I really have to take issue with this stance, it feels overly simple and just not right. I am a blonde haired blue eyed WASP, this is entirely undeniably true - I can not escape my white bread mayonaise background or the connotations that it brings with it. I get that. It doesn't change the fact that I have a terrible sense of curiosity when it comes to how people live, how they experience their lives and what gives them a sense of meaning. Sometimes in my explorations I find a tradition that really speaks to me, I enjoy it for whatever it is - a particular flavor of dance, mode of dress, hair treatment/covering, artistic practice etc - and I don't see a problem with that. I don't *think* many other people do either, but maybe I'm wrong, maybe they do.

I certainly agree that taking a holier than thou attitude in 'researching' various 'heathen rituals' is entirely awful - it's a horrible thing and it happens, a lot. It happens way more often than it should and it's a problem that desperately needs to be addressed more often than it is. But I don't believe reacting by keeping cultural practices insular and exclusive is the answer - what does it mean if we don't share it with others?

What are your thoughts? I'm curious to hear, it's something that I feel is important to think about, tell me... If you'd like to read the blog post that I found it is here.

Myself, displaying some fresh henna wearing a sari drapped in a traditional Bengali style

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Last night I had the chance to go to Longwood Gardens again to see the light installation by Bruce Munro. This time I took my camera and tripod with me to take a few pictures - I went up to see the lights earlier this summer in June as well, during that visit I really took my time in looking and finding views that I knew I wanted to come back and photograph. The art installation consists of various fiber optic consturctions - adding a soft ever changing glow to some of the gardenscapes. The one that I photographed the most (and it's my favorite) was the forest walk installation, containing 20,000 glass spheres along the pathway.

My favorite image of the evening actually came from not from my favorite installation (the forest walk) but from the Water Towers - combined with the full (blue) moon.

The installation pieces will be on display at the gardens through September 29th, if you have the opportunity to get to Kennett Square to see it, I highly recommend it. Just to be able to walk around and spend time with these magical creations is quite the treat. I'm going to try to go back at least once or twice more before the end of the month. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

While at the Pennsic War ( this year I decided to do a little documentation of one of the somewhat typical severe storms that roll through. As the storm broke and the sun was setting we were treated to some wonderful cloudscapes.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

it's kinda grey and threatening rain today so here's a little some color to add to your saturday. Enjoy! (Nina is a dancer in the baltimore area whom I've had the pleasure of taking a few classes from, she is wonderful and so is her troupe Aubergine)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I haven't posted any kind of updates in a long long while.... so I feel it's about time that I do so :)

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth! I'm finding that my pace of work has slowed since graduating university and getting a full time day job, spending on average about a year on a painting (at least I work on 3 or 4 at a time usually). The trade off is that I feel like the work has gotten more elaborate and detailed and I've been really happy with where I'm going and I'm dedicated to continuing.

Lately that progress has been a bit derailed by circumstance, namely a major fire in the apartment that I was living in which lead to my current temporary living arrangements and gearing up to buy a house - at which point I'll leave my rented studio space and set up shop in my new basement. I have paintings (and eveything else really) to clean, moving to do, and 3 freshly stretched and gessoed canvases ready and waiting.... oh what fun I have in store for those clean white surfaces....