this admiration might come as a surprise to those who really know me, but i adore this PLAYBOY cover from october 1971. photographer raymond fegley took this gorgeous and subtle image of model danine stern, who became the first african-american model to grace the cover of the magazine. the chair was created by artist len willis. this cover appeals to me because she is so effortlessly beautiful, happy and strong, without showing any "sexual" parts of her body... she is sensual, discreet and her authentic 'fro speaks volumes about the times and politics of the early 70's. powerful!
african-american artist HORACE PIPPIN is one of america's best kept secrets. his work is in
the style naively called "naive", but i think of him as a realist. he was born in 1888 and grew up in goshen, new york. self-taught, pippin focused on the real life unfolding in front of him ~ and segregation and memories of slavery are focal points in his work. pippin fought for America in WW1, and lost the use of his right arm. my favorite painting of his is "Holy Mountain" ~ his paintings often have a biblical theme.
i liked the way these vendors made the facade of this mosque, in lagos island, their everyday backdrop. the time weathered mosque sits in the very center of lagos market / it is a landmark and a point of reference for the found and the lost. at salat its surrounding sidewalks are flush with worshipers, knelt to Allah in unison.
seen in small things like grains of rice, and the glow of brightly iridescent beads / just when you might think there is no more here to see, when things are falling upwards and tearing inward / the realization of abundance humbles and rewards.
asa is a contemporary nigerian via europe singer, songwriter revolutionary, poet, griot... soothsayer. i dig everything about her, from her laid back personal style, her nonchalant and casual body language, her unassuming way of working in her world... she is both romantic and political... a radical combination for a new age.
just finished reading PUSH... a novel by SAPPHIRE. a painful story, well told. there is pure
poetry in the rendering of the horrors, there is music in the rhythm of her sadness, her tears and rage can fit any one of us ~ and don't ever think this story can't be true. despite what we think we know, pain and suffering can live right next door to you.
the posters for the movie are breath-taking... i love the color, the mystery and the power in her form... in one, she in anoynmous yet familiar, even without her face... the clues to her thinking have been erased, while her brilliant dress and white angelic robe denote her as pure and present. what strikes me is the poised, and humble clasp of her hands. she is controlled and powerful. in the second poster she is obviously shattered by the hand of fate... or is it just horrific and crushing circumstance ~ that can be shed like a rough skin... with time and care? note that she is broken, yet unbowed... and the ferocious orange background is a hue of hope, not despair.
these papier-mache elephants aren't really made of paper... but they have a similar feel and look ... and have been here at the hotel cotoneou since the 1970's. after convincing f&l not to attempt to climb them, they were happy to admire them from a respectable vantage point.
this gentleman saw me take his photo, smiled serenely, and gave me the shot, gracefully. he knew he was perfectly poised, and naturally framed by the window. i imagine this to be his favored seat, and this his path home every night. he gave me thumbs up before the bus turned.
everything is for sale on the seven mile bridge, from victoria island, thru to surelere. vendors roam and rule the already congested road~ two lanes teeming with mokado, wheezing, over-full buses and backed-up lines of honking cars... we never encountered any of the famed bandits of this bridge, but one can easily imagine how armed men could overcome the flustered, captive drivers. still, a sight and experience i never tire of... knives, rugs, nollywood and bootleg hollywood films, cd's, irons, boiled peanuts, cold soda and STAR beer, plaintains, towels, transistor radios, folding baskets...
more lagos island ~ the heart of nigeria... not to be taken lightly, or ventured into without awareness of the social rules and mores that prevail here. this is the place where all the action happens ~ good and bad ~ and this tiny corner of lagos will teach your heart a new and accelerated beat each time...
street scenes ~ lagos island... full time, full speed action with purpose and intent... while some may seem idle, there is an heightened sense of work to be done without hesitation, or delay. every one needs to make a living... yet somehow there is still joy and grace in every motion... and no time to be wasted.