Saturday, August 1, 2015

Surround Yourself with Kings and Queens and all Royalty in Between

Keturah Benson was a senior when I was a freshman. She was a fibers and mixed media major and she carried herself like a queen. She always seemed wiser and more elegant than any 22-year-old college student could ever possibly manage. Never would anyone imagine her under the stresses and pressures of senior year, she would never let anyone see her struggle. She captures in herself the ideals of old world royalty behavior.

I attend Circle of Hope, which is a grassroots, activism based church and although I always attend my small Tuesday group meetings, I don’t always attend the Sunday night services for various reasons. One night freshman year I decided to walk from my dorm in Juniper all the way down to Broad and Washington. That night Keturah happened to be there. I had recognized her from on campus and at the end of the service I introduced myself to her. We decided to walk home together because at the time she lived on Pine Street. On the way home we started by exchanging niceities, but then it turned into exchanging dreams, dreams of our futures and our goals. After a moment of quiet, Keturah started to speak, but her tone was different. It was deeper, slower, and more thoughtful. She proceeded to tell me about how she saw greatness in me and that from the moment she saw me she knew I was going to accomplish astounding things. I was going through a rough time and I actually started to cry but she didn’t see that because I quickly turned my head, said goodbye and walked up Pine toward Juniper. I later texted her about what happened and how much her words meant to me. Her words encourage me to this day.

Now with Art Sanctuary I have been working on these blogs and I’ve wanted to tackle the idea of appropriation. Appropriation is a complicated issue because there is a clear positive side to it especially as artists as we feed ourselves with inspiration and then add that into our work. Although it can become sour quickly especially when groups in power like white people take aspects of minority culture without respect, regard to history, or regard for the people. My advice to you is to watch this video:

It’s amazing just do it. So in order to talk about this subject and not sound like a textbook or like an “angry black person” which I am and not sorry about it…I have decided to take the conversation to different amazing black artists I know, especially some fibers majors because fabric is so important to black culture. 

Keturah so far has been the first person I have interviewed. We met at the Last Drop and I recorded her while asking questions and writing. It was all very cool and official. I felt like an actual journalist (insert swooning here). And of course the conversation was amazing and I learned so much about Keturah. Of course her hero is Claire Huxtable! It just makes so much sense. Even when I stopped the interview the conversation continued and became about how we both surround ourselves with high-achieving people, who then in turn help us achieve. She says that the best thing about UArts is the network she was able to build that branches all talents and art forms. I would have to agree. She also encouraged me again after asking about my hopes and dreams almost two years later. She truly has the gift of exhortation.

Stay tuned for the full interview on Art Sanctuary’s new website.

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