I’m no artist.Never have been.I’ve always enjoyed viewing art, but I can’t draw or paint a lick.I even finished at the bottom of last December’s family cookie decorating contest.
Thankfully, the Riverside (California) Art Museum didn’t know about my failings when it asked me to become the consulting humanist for its new venture, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, better known as The Cheech. I stepped into a brand new world. Here’s what happened.
Tonya Todd is a Las Vegas author, actress, and activist. Invested in fair representation, her continued involvement in the literary, theatre, and filmmaking communities provides a platform to champion marginalized artists and contributes toward an environment that embraces a variety of voices.
Hear Tonya discuss her biracial journey and ….
The importance of pushing yourself to make people feel included even when it feels awkward or uncomfortable.
The damage caused by dismissing projects as Black or Gay or Asian as if they don’t have universal appeal.
Why it’s important to consume media that is centered on people whose identity is different from ours.
How allies can contribute to an inclusive environment and assist marginalized artists.
Why do we now say Kyiv instead of Kiev? It’s because Kyiv is the Ukrainian pronunciation and Russia’s invasion is a culture war.Their disputes are old-as-dirt and Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev tried to enable a Ukrainian revival with the transfer of Crimea from Russia. But, Soviet repression went beyond land and sovereignty.
With the USSR dissolution, Ukraine established a new government with its own national anthem in Ukrainian, not Russian. It’s no accident that Putin’s treaty demands include protection for the Russian language. It may seem trivial, but imagine if England suddenly tried to re-establish British control over America and insisted that we revert to British English. If England were like Putin, you might go to jail if you refused to spell “color” as “colour”, the original, British version. Or what about our patriotic song, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”? That melody was originally an unofficial national anthem of England. We wouldn’t tolerate going back to its original title: “God Save the Queen”. We’d fight a new War of Independence.
(Artwork by Jonathan Lyndon Chase – Pulpit)
Kohn Gallery presents Engender, a group exhibition featuring contemporary artists who are revolutionizing the way we visualize conventional gender as exclusively male or female. Established in 1985, the Kohn Gallery has presented historically significant exhibitions in Los Angeles alongside exciting contemporary artists, creating meaningful contexts to establish links to a greater art historical continuum.
Through painting, a medium that has traditionally embraced this binary, these artists are pushing the genre in new, unprecedented directions, challenging the ways in which paintings can be used to deconstruct and rewrite conventional notions of personal identity. The exhibition highlights the inter-blending of traditional and figurative abstraction as the foundation for more fluid and inclusive expressions of identity, engendering a new visual pronoun. Engender is beyond the binary.
“If the show can expose people to questions about gender, questions that they may have never known to ask, that would be a success in my book. I want people to be exposed to this topic first and foremost. I think awareness is what will lead to further conversation. When you have something so tethered to a long history of cultural categorizations such as gender, assumptions occurs. Assumptions that negate proper exposure, discussion, and education on a very complex and multilayered component of all our lives. The artists in the exhibition are reclaiming that narrative, visually crafting languages that speak to their own unique experience, and yet can very much be understood by all.”
~ Joshua Friedman, Curator and Associate Director of Kohn Gallery Continue reading Engender Exhibit Goes Beyond the Binary→
Long before The New York Times had its first woman Executive Editor, Ruth Holmberg was the Editor of The Chattanooga Times. Holmberg is a member of the family that founded both newspapers and she has shared her compelling life story as friends and admirers gathered to hear her speak. Holmberg is a former director of The Associated Press and of The New York Times Company, a former president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Southern Newspaper Publisher Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Education Network (PEN). The petite, soft-voiced woman is also a member of one of the nation’s most prominent publishing families.
Editor’s note: Publishing icon and Chattanooga civic leader Ruth Holmberg passed away at age 96. In her honor, here is the ADR interview with Ms. Holmberg several years ago.
When regional Native Americans convene in Chattanooga’s First Tennessee Pavilion, you’ll find me there, too. This year, the gathering seemed larger and more energetic than ever. I come to admire the colorful dress, hear the drum circle, and watch the dancing. The booths full of Native American arts and crafts are irresistible and my drawers are full of jewelry purchased there. I also come for the honor guard, a promenade of Native American veterans, police, firemen, and war mothers.
There is much beauty to celebrate in Native American art, but that it’s a struggle to create given the devastating historical events surrounding Native Americans. The Cherokee Nation had a culture that thrived for almost 1,000 years in the Southeastern United States: in Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and parts of Kentucky and Alabama. Life of the traditional Cherokee changed drastically with European expansion and cession of Cherokee lands to the colonies in exchange for trade goods. Migration from the original Cherokee Nation began in the early 1800s as Cherokees wary of white encroachment moved west and settled in other areas of the country’s vast frontier. Their eventual removal by force prompts the question of whether there is any Cherokee cultural presence remaining in the Southeast.
There has been a great deal of media attention regarding the looting of antiquities and other cultural property. The sacking of Iraq’s National Museum and the heritage of the country soon after the fall of Baghdad in 2003 drew international headlines. The issue of looting came to the fore again in 2005 with the Italian Government’s indictment of Marion True, then chief Curator of Antiquities at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, for trafficking in looted Greek and Roman artifacts. True was put on trial for what was cultural theft.
Home is the place that cradles our souls and soothes our most primal needs. Yet, for most of us, the only place that is certain to be a home is a mother’s womb, for after we are born, we move through time and space sometimes by force, sometimes by will, and spend a lifetime searching for a way of return. My family relocated to the United States when I was just out of high school. It was a decision made by my father who as a young man had been brought to the Soviet Republic of Armenia in 1946. My father’s parents had survived the Genocide of the Armenians on western Armenian lands (Eastern Turkey) in 1915, and like thousands, had made a life for themselves in Aleppo, Syria after walking for days through the deserts of Der El Zor.