Celebrating Louis Reyes Rivera: Next Event Sept 15
Host Alkamal paid tribute to the late brother Louis then introduced visual and spoken word artists who opened visitors' hearts and minds to mirth, whimsical thoughts and sobering remembrance.
The magic continued at this season's first Outdoor Garden Arts Exhibition honoring esteemed poet, historian, Board member Louis Reyes Rivera.
Barbara Killens Rivera, widow of the beloved mentor and daughter of celebrated writer John Oliver Killens was in attendance. A spell was cast over those who stepped beyond the arch of the tranquil brownstone into the secret garden on Gates Avenue.
Amid fig trees, flowers and grape vines host Alkamal paid tribute to the late brother Louis then introduced visual and spoken word artists who opened visitors' hearts and minds to mirth, whimsical thoughts and sobering remembrance. Guests enjoyed the soothing sounds from vocalists Madafi Pierre and Niki Nicole, accompanied by her dad Kevin Cummings on guitar.
Bold colors combined with unique materials garnered admiration for Kilolo Kumanyika' s mixed media installations exhibited on the fence enclosing the garden. Guests were treated to an odyssey to China, Bali, Senegal and Mali through photographer Mel Wright's compelling display of portraits capturing candid expressions of everyday people abroad. The spoken word artist, named lyriclyinclined, passionately rapped "Justice must have just missed us," declaring " Blacks and Whites don't have equal rights," as she revisited the travesty of young brother Trayvon Martin's killing in Sanford, Florida. The image of Louis Reyes Rivera looking out from a tee shirt - expression earnest, eyes intent, finger raised in the midst of driving home one of the activist's salient points brought us back home to Brooklyn. The limited edition shirt captioned " I Am Louis Ryes Rivera - Sunrise May 19,1945, Sunset March 2, 2012 " was created by the Killens-Rivera family as a first effort to launch a fund raising campaign to publish Louis' last work "Jazz in Jail." During intermission flowers swayed as a summer breeze wafted through the garden accompanied the tune "Hot Fun in the Summertime." Guests mingled, supported the artists, availed themselves of more refreshments and purchased " Louis Reyes Rivera" tee shirts. "You need double and triple X's! " legendary community activist Jitu Weusi laughed as he held the extra large sized shirt up to his massive chest. "But this is a good cause and I'll support it." "This is not a one day memorial," said Bill Simpson, Director of the Sculptor Arts Garden. Louis was an active member of the Board and our navigator. He mapped out past, present and future directions for this voyage. Without his input we would never have reached our destination."
The second half of the program got off to a rousing start with the wit and humor of seasoned comedienne/producer Rhonda Hansom. Her quip about what our folks do with laundry, eggs and races: "Beat the whites, beat the whites, beat the whites" brought the house down.
A call for unity and consciousness came from younger spoken word artists who expressed their angst about love, their plight today and their prospects for the future.
This pleasant afternoon was presented free to the public by the Travelled Rhodes International Sculptor Arts Garden, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The next event is scheduled for Saturday, September 15, 2012 - rain date Saturday, September 22, 2012.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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