Happy Creativity Thursday: Support Ayoka Chenzira’s New Film Project – BABYLON SISTERS – VOTE ONLINE!

babylon sisters

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today’s blog post pays special tribute to Ayoka “Ayo” Chenzira’s exciting new film project, BABYLON SISTERS which is based on author Pearl Cleage’s novel. Ayo is one of my favorite Creativista digital sisters and filmmakers in the world! I also love Ms. Cleage’s work (been a fan since I read her book, Mad at Miles in the 1990s).

Photo Credit: PearlCleage.net
Photo Credit: PearlCleage.net
Dr. Ayoka Chenzira - Photo Credit: Ayomentary.com
Dr. Ayoka Chenzira – Photo Credit: Ayomentary.com

Ayo has listed BABYLON SISTERS on the JuntoBox Films’ web site (a company that is co-chaired by producer/actor/director Forest Whitaker). Through its web site, JuntoBox Films allows film supporters to follow and rate film projects so that they can be noticed by the decision makers of the company.

Join me in giving BABYLON SISTERS support by rating it on the JuntoBox web site. All you have to do is click here, join the site (takes a few seconds because you can use Facebook to join), and give BABYLON SISTERS a high rating.

Your support will help Ayo and her team generate  positive feedback so that BABYLON SISTERS will become a greenlit and fully funded project by JuntoBox Films. Let’s make it happen!

Thanks everyone for your support!

Happy Creativity Thursday – 4/25

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the artwork of Kesha Bruce. I adore Bruce’s work because it marries collage, written words, storytelling, drawings, and painting with memory, personal mythology, and spirituality. When I see her work, I dream and reflect all at the same time!

Photo Credit: Totem for Sistah Johnson by Kesha Bruce - KeshaBruce.com
Photo Credit: Totem for Sistah Johnson by Kesha Bruce – KeshaBruce.com

The Totem Series which features her narrative portraits of hybrid beings is one of my favorite collections. My favorite piece from the collection is a Totem for Sistah Johnson.

Kesha Bruce at Morton Fine Art in DC
Kesha Bruce at Morton Fine Art in DC
Kesha Bruce and Ananda Leeke at Morton Fine Art in DC
Kesha Bruce and Ananda Leeke at Morton Fine Art in DC

In December 2012, I met Bruce in person at the Morton Fine Art gallery which hosted an opening reception featuring her Wrestling with Angels series of drawings inspired by the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel in the Holy Bible. What a treat! I told her how much I enjoy seeing her artwork, reading her blog, and following her on Twitter. Visit http://keshabruce.com to learn more about her.

Happy Creativity Thursday – 4/11

Photo Credit: SonyaClark.com
Photo Credit: SonyaClark.com

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the work of Sonya Clark, a textile artist extraordinaire who also serves as Chair of the Department of Craft/Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Clark’s work focuses on her individual and collective identity as an African American woman with Caribbean roots from her Jamaican mother and Trinidadian father.

Madame C.J. Walker tapestry by Sonya Clark - Photo Credit: http://sonyaclark.com/gallery/madam-cj-walker/
Madame C.J. Walker tapestry by Sonya Clark – Photo Credit: http://sonyaclark.com/gallery/madam-cj-walker/

I discovered Clark’s work and featured her Madame C.J. Walker, a tapestry made from black plastic combs, on my Black American Princess (BAP) Living social networking site in 2008. Since then, her work has been an inspiration for my own creative expression. Visit www.sonyaclark.com to learn more about her.

Happy Creativity Thursday – 3/28

Photo Credit: www.sawcc.org
Photo Credit: http://www.sawcc.org

Happy Creativity Thursday!

On March 1, I kicked off Women’s History Month with a visit to the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery to see the Be/Longing, exhibition featuring the work of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collection (SAWCC). The Gallery is housed in the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts located in my U Street neighborhood in Washington, DC.

Photo Credit: Smith Center web site - Jaishri Abichandani The Return of Devastasia
Photo Credit: Smith Center web site – Jaishri Abichandani The Return of Devastasia

FIERCE is the best word to describe the Be/Longing exhibition. It is emotional and filled with stories that give voice to the rapture and struggle of fierce identity from the diverse perspectives of South East Asian women. It included the artwork of several powerful women artists: Samira Abbassy, Jaishri Abichandani, Nida Abidi, Amina Ahmed, Shelly Bahl, Marcy Chevali, Ruby Chishti, Chitra Ganesh, Monica Jahan Bose, and Sa’dia Rehman. Click here to learn more.

Did you visit any woman-centered art events during Women’s History Month?

Happy Creativity Thursday – 3/14

That Which Awakens Me: Kreative Grooviness by Ananda Leeke
That Which Awakens Me: Kreative Grooviness by Ananda Leeke

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Every person is born with a spark of creativity that can awaken them to an amazing life. Throughout my life’s journey, I have witnessed my spark of creativity expand through the nurturing support of other artists. Today, I am remembering Tasko Bey, an amazing master artist I met while working as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital. When I met Tasko, he was a patient living with cancer and a graduate student in Howard University’s Master of Fine Arts program. Prior to attending Howard, his work was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Our first expressive arts sessions turned into a mini workshop where he served as a teacher and coach. He even gave me homework. For the next two years, he utilized our sessions as teaching moments. In 2005, he urged me to pick up a pencil and draw and use a paint brush to paint my first series of paintings. He showed me how to tap into my intuition for creative guidance and encouraged me to experiment with watercolor, gouache, and acrylic painting.

Photo Credit: http://columbus.utrechtblog.com/2012/03/
Photo Credit: http://columbus.utrechtblog.com/2012/03/

I fell in love with acrylic paints. As a result, I created a series of paintings that I later used to illustrate my book covers for Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One and That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetical Memoir of Self-Discovery. One of my favorite paintings from this series is “That Which Awakens Me: Kreative Grooviness.” See photo above. It hangs in my sunny yellow kitchen and reminds me of Tasko and his passionate love of art. Click here to watch a video about the painting (starts with an introduction to another painting and some of my collages) and my art studio. Enjoy!

Do you draw or paint?

Who or what inspired you to begin drawing or painting?

What do you like to draw or paint?

Happy Creativity Thursday – 2/21

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating the power of creative community. Being around like-minded creative people inspires me to open my heart more to all forms of creativity. It also helps me to express my creativity in unique ways.

Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com
Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com

On February 8, I attended Live Unchained’s Anniversary Celebration and launch of its “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” fundraising campaign at Local 16 in my U Street neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Live Unchained is an international arts organization for women across the African diaspora that was established by Kathryn Buford. Click here to read Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project’s profile of Kathryn.

Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com
Photo Credit: LiveUnchained.com

Live Unchained’s “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” fundraising campaign is preparing to bring London-based Somali poet, Warsan Shire to Washington, DC for a “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” series and awards ceremony in 2014. The campaign’s name “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” is taken from a line from one of Shire’s popular poems, “For Women Who Are Difficult to Love.”

Kathryn Buford on video
Kathryn Buford on video
Kathryn Buford at event
Kathryn Buford at event

During the February 8th celebration, I had a chance to hug and chat with Kathryn about her amazing work. I hung out with one of my favorite digital sisters and creativity accountability partners, Jessica Solomon, Live Unchained’s Connectivity Director. We chatted about the powerful images Live Unchained has been able to share with its online community for the past several years.  In addition, I had some great conversations with my digital sisters Nae Carter, founder of I Choose the Sun blog, and Adrienne Burke, a media curator, as we posed for photos.

Adrienne, Ananda and Nae
Adrienne, Ananda and Nae

My creative heart was thrilled to pieces when I viewed the video introducing the “Terrifying, Strange and Beautiful” fundraising campaign on indiegogo.com. Click here to watch the video. And if you are like me, you will make a donation to support Live Unchained. For more information about the fundraising campaign, click here to read the press release.

Happy Creativity Thursday! – Celebrating the 100th Birthday Anniversary of Photographer Gordan Parks

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am honoring Black History Month by celebrating the creativity and 100th birthday anniversary of Gordan Roger Alexander Buchannan Parks (November 30, 1912 — March 7, 2006), an African-American activist, composer, film director, journalist, musician, novelist, poet, and photographer. What a Renaissance man!

Gordan Parks
Gordan Parks

Parks made history in 1948 when LIFE magazine hired him as their first African-American staff photographer. Another history making moment occurred in 1969 when he became the first African-American artist to produce and direct a major Hollywood film, “The Learning Tree.”

Photo Credit: Gordan Parks for LIFE Magazine
Photo Credit: Gordan Parks for LIFE Magazine

I discovered him through his LIFE photo essays and work as the director of the 1971 film “Shaft.”

Gordan Parks' Shaft film
Gordan Parks’ Shaft film

I fell in love with his photographs of D.C. street scenes in the 1940s, the Black Muslim women from the Nation of Islam (1963), and Malcolm X.

Photo Credit: Gordan Parks - Street Corner, 7th Street and Florida Avenue, Washington, D.C., 1942. (Courtesy Library of Congress/ICP)
Photo Credit: Gordan Parks – Street Corner, 7th Street and Florida Avenue, Washington, D.C., 1942. (Courtesy Library of Congress/ICP)
Photo Credit: Gordon Parks - Ethel Sharrieff, daughter of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam. Chicago, 1963
Photo Credit: Gordon Parks – Ethel Sharrieff, daughter of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam. Chicago, 1963
Photo Credit: Gordan Parks - Malcolm X in Chicago, IL in 1963
Photo Credit: Gordan Parks – Malcolm X in Chicago, IL in 1963

In 1997, I had a chance to see Parks’ work when the Corcoran  Gallery of Art mounted a career retrospective, Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks. Click here to watch a video of the Half Past Autumn (1 hour 29 minutes).

Photo Credit: Gordon Parks
Photo Credit: Gordon Parks

To learn more about Parks, read his memoirs, A Hungry Heart: A Memoir  and To Smile in Autumn.

Gordon Parks memoir
Gordon Parks memoir
Gordan Parks' memoir
Gordan Parks’ memoir

For additional information check out the Gordon Parks Foundation and Gordon Parks Center.

Next week, Macy’s, the Gordon Parks Foundation, and American Black Film Festival are honoring Parks’ 100th birthday anniversary with an in-store celebration, art installation, and discussion about his work on February 21 at 5:30 p.m. at Macy’s Metro Center (lower level in Furniture Gallery) in Washington, D.C.

DISCLAIMER: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about the Macy’s Black History Month event. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

 

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Ananda celebrating creativity at the Mickalene Thomas exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum
Ananda celebrating creativity at the Mickalene Thomas exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Museums are great places to go for creative inspiration. The Brooklyn Museum is one of my favorites!

Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum

In December, I visited the Museum to see the Mickalene Thomas’ exhibition. She is one of my favorite artists. Her mixed media paintings and installations set my creative heart on fire. Click here to read about my visit.

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

Do you enjoy museums?

What are your favorite museums to visit?

Any plans to visit one soon?

For more Creativity Thursday inspiration, follow me on Twitter @anandaleeke and look for the #CreativityThursday hashtag. Also, visit my Pinterest board dedicated to creative inspiration. Enjoy!

Have a creatively inspired day!

PS: Click here to read all about the launch of Creativity Thursday.