Growing up… if my dad said we were going to a restaurant… it meant we were going to Dooky Chase’s. My dad and Mrs Chase were very good friends for what seemed like a very long time. Her collection of African American art would rival that of any of the world’s greatest museums. She was an anchor for the civil rights movement and a pillar of the New Orleans community. My words will NEVER do justice to all of what she’s done and how much she means to her family, city, and the world. Deep down id always hoped to have a piece of my work in her collection…on the wall in Dooky’s. So when i was approached by the family about producing a mural for the wall of the restaurant in the new airport, i was beyond excited. The honor in creating this piece like this is incredible. I spent several weeks compiling images of Mrs. Chase, her kitchen, and her art collection into the composition that i then painted. As i approached completion of the project i was scheduling with the family to come and spend time with the piece and add messages to or about Ms. Leah into the work. Mrs. Chase had been ill and passed away before i was able to complete the painting.
The ART of Citizenship Mural Project is a partnership between Young Artist Movement, Arts Council New Orleans and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve. The project was organized around a new PBS documentary on the Chinese Exclusion Act, which chronicles the history of Chinese immigration to the United States and the impact of the 1882 federal law that specifically singled out a group of people and excluded them from immigration and citizenship. Although the law is not well-known today, its broad and long-lasting consequences continue to affect our national understanding of immigration, race and nationality, and American identity. Using that historical moment as a jumping off point, local artist Ayo Scott and youth interns examined how these topics–immigration, labor, civil rights activism–continue to shape our national identity, all through facilitated dialogues, field trips, historical research, and guest speakers. Over 100 youth and community members helped contribute to the mural during a community paint day.
“The ART of Citizenship” Mural Meaning
Designed by Ayo Scott and Young Artist Movement Interns
The mural depicts a Chinese grandmother, sitting sturdily with the weight of her history behind her. The framed images in the top left corner reflect the poor treatment of Chinese in America. The mask represents the history of the “paper sons and daughters,” the false identities that Chinese people adopted in the face of discriminatory immigration policies. The woman’s grandson gazes up at her. On the table between grandmother and grandson, the flame of the Statue of Liberty burns the Chinese Exclusion Act in the background. The American flag drips with blood, signifying a history of cruelty that has yet to be acknowledged in our history books. At the top right is an image of hope: the phoenix carries an olive branch signifying our vision for our country to be reborn as a nation that values peace and inclusion for all people. The framed image next to the phoenix is inspired by a United Nations image that portrays a group of children playing together.
The image at the bottom center is the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which was built in large part by Chinese laborers. In the official photo of the railroad’s completion, only White men were allowed to pose. The bottom left is therefore an homage to those Chinese laborers whose efforts were erased by politicians of the day. The toy train extending outward from the transcontinental railroad photograph carries gold bricks and poppy flowers. It also carries a bowl of Ya-Ka-Mein, a local New Orleans dish influenced by Chinese immigrants who resided near Tulane and Loyola and later the French Quarter from the 1880s to the 1970s. On the bottom right is the “race to freedom,” showing Uncle Sam, a White male, making it to the end swiftly while a series of obstacles blocks the path of minorities. The child inside the cage shows the brutal practice of family separation that is ongoing today, and to which we must demand an end.
Congratulations to the Young Artist Movement youth interns for their hard work and beautiful mural!
Young artists transform ZGA Community Garden at MacGregor Park
“This is something they will be proud of for life and know that they collaborated for good,” said New Orleans artist Ayo Scott.
HOUSTON — Kids at the Zina Garrison Tennis Academy took a break from swinging rackets to swinging paint brushes Thursday afternoon.
They decorated cinder block planters in their community garden at MacGregor Park, with the help of local and nationally-known artists.
“Art teaches self-expression and allows the kids to be creative. Often in school they are told to stay within the lines when working with art, but today they are thinking outside the box,” said New Orleans artist Ayo Scott. “This is something they will be proud of for life and know that they collaborated for good.”
Other artists who donated their time to teach the kids about using art as a form of expression included Houston’s Robert Hodge, Tara Conley and Temptest Williams and Austin artist Raasin McIntosh.
Kids from Zina Garrison’s tennis camp decorated cinder block planters in their ZGA Community Garden at MacGregor Park. (ZGA Art for Good)
Houston’s own, tennis legend, Zina Garrison, was also on hand showing off her artistic skills.
The ZGA Community Garden is a space for the ZGA kids to learn about: Growing their own food; healthy habits; and the environment.
The Winston Gallery of Houston, Tx. reached out and asked if id be interested in participating in a community art project with some amazing kids of the Zina Garrison Academy tennis summer camp. a few other artists and i broke the kids into groups and designed and painted the planters that brought this space to life. Being able to collaborate with “ART FOR GOOD” was an amazing experience allowing me to network with artists / and art appreciators from across the region.
ZINA GARRISON ART FOR GOOD BEAUTIFICATION PROJECT
Front row (Artist Ayo Scott and Robert Hodge surrounded by camper)
Back row (L-R Kevin Watson, Kim Gagne, Zina Garrison, Dave Black)
WHAT: On Friday, July 20, 2018 The Zina Garrison Tennis Academy along with Winston Art completed a beautification art project in the ZGA Community Garden located at MacGregor Park. For two days, summer campers painted, sweated and expressed their artistic side painting four cinder block planters. The ZGA Participants got a little help from local and national artist, Ayo Scott, Raasin McIntosh, Robert Hodge, Tempest Williams and Tara Conley. The projects ribbon cutting was held on Friday with City Councilman, Dwight Boykins, District D in attendance. MacGregor Park lies within his district.
Tennis Legend, Zina Garrison, thanked all those in attendance including Judge Dwight Jefferson and his wife, Judge Elaine Jefferson and Cheryl Hultquist, Executive Director of Houston Tennis Association. The ZGA Community Garden was donated and made possible by Cheerios and Walmart this spring. The garden is a space for the ZGA kids to learn about pollination, wellness, and sustainability growing their own food.
New Orleans native, Ayo Scott, says bringing Art and Tennis together is not that foreign of an idea. “Both tennis and art allow kids to be creative. The kids collaborated and used teamwork to come up with the drawings for their planters so these two worked hand and hand.” Garrison added that tennis is a creative outlet and many tennis stars like herself, Serena and Venus also accel in art and design.
The crowd was given a tour of the new 1600 square foot trailer donated by UrbanCraft Homes. The old trailer was severely damaged during Hurricane Harvey and was no longer safe for the children or staff. The new, Stephens Reiter Education Facility has a learning center, wellness and computer lab. The University of Texas at Austin has a college prep program that is also housed at the park.
Winston Art, a new contemporary art gallery in Houston sponsored today’s event. Other sponsors include; Brother’s Produce, Chef Michael Gabriel, CPanel, UrbanCraft Homes, Phoenicia Foods, Scotiabank, UT Austin and Woodforest Bank.
WHEN: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 12:30PM (CST)
WHERE: MacGregor Park , ZGA Community Garden, 5225 Calhoun, Rd, Houston, Texas
IMAGES: Imagery courtesy of Sonny Images
Video: Giverny Lab
Homer Plessy (of Plessy vs Ferguson) a black man, was arrested for buying a ticket and riding in a train car designated for white people. At the site of his arrest is currently a historical marker thanks to the hard work of community members. The NOCCA Institute commissioned me to activate the space now known as Plessy Park and pay tribute to Homer’s legacy.
These are Times was designed with the help of Carl Joe Williams, Jon Moody, Paul Wright and was produced with much help from Langston Allston.
(Im honored to have been able to work with Langston on this project). As well as other great artists who helped including Charlie Vaughn and Asia Palmer.
There are no photos of Homer Plessy and before joining the citizens committee he was a shoe-maker. This mural celebrates the everyday man who chooses to stand up ad fight for civil and human rights. It is a series of vignettes that show pieces of the struggles of civil rights in America, the accomplishments of past activism, and visions of an ideal future. The center-piece of the mural is a blindfolded black boy who is holding the scales of justice next to a dancing black boy dressed as Liberty, asking the question of the viewer what might liberty and justice look like through the eyes of another person. Much of the murals message is summarized by Gian Smith in the newspaper article on the far left of the wall. The title of the piece comes from the poem on the little boy’s shirt which was written by Kataalyst Alcindor.
I have been working on a LOT of new work..
but have not been updating the site to share all
the fun i’m having with these experiments.
below are new works from 2017 including Masking-Indians children and New Orleans artists from various media.
these will be added to the timeline and made available in the prints ASAP.
Over a year ago i was about to paint at a Beats and Brushstrokes and couldn’t decide what i wanted to paint. At my studio i had a few abstract paintings that id done at previous B&B events and i had a folder of masks that id been collecting to use in my collages. I envisioned one of the masks on the abstract backgrounds and decided to paint one. So happy with the results… i continued to make paint these masks. Experimenting with juxtaposing the masks with contemporary imagery like bow ties, rope chains, and headphones.
My friend Tavia manages one of my favorite bands and reached out to me about collaborating on a project to collect toys for kids. In reaching out to a few other friends, namely Definition DJ Chris Stylez, and Carly Hammond of High Art nonprofit we saw the opportunity to pool our resources and make a larger more impactful event. Several musicians, some emcees, and a DJ put on an incredible block party outside of the gallery where my Masqued exhibit was opening.
Good times all around and LOTS of donations that were delivered to the Covenant House today. Good times.. for a GREAT cause.
a huge THANK YOU to my boy Malik for taking photos during the event… follow him on instagram @PhrozenPhotography
Last year i was blessed to meet artist Nicolas Ticot through some friends at the New Orleans Arts Council.
Nico is developing a software and artistic style based upon collaboration between artists and art forms that breaths life into spaces that no longer show signs of it.
When we met we discussed collaborating on his 99 angles project. and partnering with some other visual artists and poet Kataalyst Alcindor to play with light, lines and shapes on the exteriors of a few places around New Orleans. The 99 angles website will host the edited video and project specifics…. in the meantime.. here’s a little bit of what i could capture.
UPDATE… NICO has updated the site with OUT OUR COLLAB
After leaving my residency with the Joan Mitchell Center and completing my last show “The Lies We Believe” I’ve moved into a new studio and began trying to establish a bit of a studio practice to focus on a few new ideas. I’m still playing around with the juxtaposition of masks or masked individuals and elements of modernity. The current paintings are loosely.
the Carver’s Legacy MURAL WAS FINALLY INSTALLED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED MAKE IT POSSIBLE.
I was contacted by Carver High School and asked to come up with a concept for a mural to take place on the side of one of their six current temporary buildings. The plan was then to cut the mural off when they moved to the new campus next year. Those plans were then scrapped because of the whole building cutting scenario.
Then i came up with a concept. I would create a series of small murals that could exist on all six of the current buildings and be easily moved and remounted at the new campus. Each of the small murals would be a different shape and contain a portrait of a different African American civil rights figure and one of the schools six values.
I chose to build each mural our of plywood, and fasten them with hinges so that i could fold them up for easier transport
While talking with the architects building the new campus i became concerned that the wood would begin to warm due to weathering before it was moved to the new building. so graphic renderings of each mural were printed and placed on the buildings as place holders and the actual paintings are being stored until the new school is opened.
i unveiled Carver’s Legacy at Pass It On last month at the Joan Mitchell Center on Bayou Road.