On Visual Expression and Current Events
Thoughts from Charlene Mosley:
As an artist and introvert who is learning to be more extroverted, I feel I best express my thoughts and emotions visually; sometimes I don’t have any verbal expression for what I say through my work. There is a connection and meaning to every face I portray and I hope that the viewer can connect on some level that aligns with their experiences in life or that provokes thoughts and emotions within themselves. In the past years, I have shifted to portraying more and more faces of color and diverse backgrounds as I observed my surroundings and the people that inhabit them. I have a tendency to be silent and observe rather than be loud and outspoken, but throughout the years, I have realized I would like to see more faces of color represented in artwork and the art world. I found myself too comfortable in painting one certain kind of light skin color and wondered why. I had not seen much artwork of black people in history books in school or else where. Now, I feel the urge to explore my own skin color more and all the tones and varieties of others in paint on canvas. And so, I do. And so, there should be even more faces of color portrayed and represented, in my opinion. My way of joining the black lives matter movement is through my work, but mostly through educating myself, through learning to figure out ways to express what is relevant and important and what can impact others in positive ways. I want to support and be a part of the voices heard may it be through my drawings and paintings, murals or conversation. I want to hear other people’s experiences and views to improve my understanding of the community I live in, so I can act in ways that fuel change.
As I am one female, biracial voice, in a world of so many and so many before my generation, I cannot speak for all but can hopefully contribute to the whole.
I commend everyone who is out there continuously fighting against the violence, hate, racism, systemic inequality, lack of diversity that has been going on for far too long. It is uplifting to see people of all races, ages, and backgrounds come together to join and stand for what is right. It is important that all voices be heard in order for a community to grow into something powerful and stronger. There is a precedent for all that is happening. Movements right now are built on past movements as anti- black discrimination has gone on for generations, so too has this systemic inequality; and now people are reacting. This year started out as a challenge and continues to be a very uneasy ride with the pandemic causing people and families to fear for their livelihoods; but most importantly their own lives.
This however, is something all too familiar for many black families who have been living with fear of loosing their lives or those of family members for generations. If a parent has to prepare their child early on to fear the presence of police, to be seen as worth less- than, to have to fight twice as hard as others for any opportunity in life, then something is deeply wrong with the system we live in. This moment in time that we find each other in has been long coming and no bandage or quick- fix will silence people anymore. Now is the time to open eyes and finally speak up and support, to hold people/ companies accountable to make a change, to become an ally. It is about being uncomfortable with biases and understanding and acknowledging them, to have the courage and will to make changes and do better. Silence is easy but does absolutely nothing. Silence is being a bystander of the wrong doing, as every voice has the power to create an impact, to be a catalyst to new ways and correcting the wrong.
It is important to fuel the fire inside of us into knowledge and productivity as to what is needed to make change happen. No matter where you come from, what background, what skin color, gender, language you speak, there is a way you can step up and contribute to making things different. Use your voice, your art, music, social media platforms, your form of expression to amplify black voices. Educate yourself, vote, talk to people, ask questions, learn about each other’s experience (no one experience is the same), don’t be afraid to speak out, even if your words may come out wrong or you misunderstand. Then don’t be afraid to stand corrected and find the courage to be better. I believe, if we continue to show up and support each other through the hard way forward, we can change. I hold myself to this and try every day… because Black Lives Matter!
Charlene Mosley’s work can be viewed here.