THE IMPACT OF ART
“We Will Breathe” by Sheila Pree Bright
This week, we have a new photo essay to share from Atlanta-based, award-winning photographer Sheila Pree Bright. “We Will Breathe”, a collection of ten photographs, capture intimate moments of mourning and inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, images that evoke and make connections to the civil rights movement and its leaders.
Bright writes, “In 2012, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed seventeen-year-old Black teenager, was fatally shot in Florida by George Zimmerman. The following year, after Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter, protests erupted around the country, and the hashtag #blacklivesmatter started a new civil rights movement. I felt compelled to be there on the ground and document what was happening in the communities of Atlanta, Baltimore, Ferguson, Baton Rouge, and Washington, D.C. I wanted to know for myself what the neighborhoods were experiencing versus what the media was reporting to the masses.
Then, at the end of May 2020, the death of George Floyd sparked one of the most massive uprisings in modern American history: protests erupted in fifty states and twelve countries, amplifying the Black Lives Matter movement globally. Over the next month, I followed several events in Atlanta, Georgia: a Juneteenth gathering, the memorial for Rayshard Brooks (photographed above), a walk to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s house, a press conference held by grieving mothers, and a July 4th protest. ‘We Will Breathe’ is a series of images from that time. I photographed in black and white, shooting mostly with a portrait lens to show the depth of the trauma Black bodies have been experiencing generation to generation. I thought about my parents, who grew up in the Jim Crow era: imagine their trauma.”
An acclaimed artist, Bright’s work has been included in collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. Bright is the author of #1960Now: Photographs of Civil Rights Activists and Black Lives Matter Protest.
These powerful images tell a larger story which get to the heart of social justice, equality, and human rights. I love the quote from Octavia Butler that Bright includes to accompany these photographs on her Instagram page (@shepreebright). Butler wrote, “All that you touch, You Change. All that you Change, Changes You. The only lasting truth is Change.”
Stay tuned for companion lesson plans to this photo essay, which are currently in production. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director Global Oneness Project
Etel Adnan Reflects on Aging With Gentle Hues
By Billy Anania in Hyperallergic
A sense of longing pervades Seasons, which opened at Galerie Lelong just as New York City reached peak autumn foliage.
Etel Adnan once described memory as a “sanctuary of infinite patience.” Looking at her new work, it’s easy to see why. More than six decades of traveling, writing, weaving, and painting have led the Lebanese-American poet, now 95, to abstract the landscapes of her life. Gentle hues and sparse linework become vast poetic meditations on the aging process in her latest exhibition of tapestries, rugs, paintings, and leporello books. CLICK FOR MORE