April 20th, 2015
My life pushes on through the grace of many inspirations fuelled in part by incredible people, many of whom are a part of a diverse community of women.
My friend Negus, the 4 year old young man pictured above, was a perfect fit for this post celebrating #BasquiatAGO and #crowningheroes. It isn't just because his spirit embodies so much of the kind of energy I imagine to be behind Basquiat's work, but also because of who I have always known to be my greatest personal heroes: women.
This very special little man will grow up with love, strength and the ability to truly see himself, largely because his mother allows it so.
To all of our mother.sister.friends, to our teachers, healers, lovers and greatest warriors, thank you for all that you do, make, carry and sacrifice. Thanks for being heroes and for creating heroes.
My call to action was to insert a personal crowningheroes story about a personal hero and/or the concept of heroism. In this case, the concept of great bravery, the heroes that I crown are my patients. Each of these individual have sustained a brain injury. It is a life changing event, and the effects are wide ranging. These heroes have gone through in depth physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and psychological changes. However, it is important to note the strength and resilience of these individual. Given their circumstances, they continue to remain determined, and approaches to life continue to be positive. These are my heroes.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s groundbreaking and provocative artistic approach translated 1980s New York City into a radical visual language, one that confronted issues of racism, class struggle, social hypocrisy and black history. Inspired as much by high art — abstract expressionism and conceptualism — as by hip hop, jazz, sports, comics and graffiti, Basquiat used recurring motifs to explore issues that he continuously grappled with in his life and art.
The crown was one of these motifs. It appears on a variety of figures in his paintings, including renowned jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie; celebrated athletes, including Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) and Hank Aaron; and sometimes the artist’s friends, like Michael Stewart. Basquiat used crowns — as well as halos — to honour his icons.
Inspired by Basquiat’s use of this symbol, we launched a city-wide Instagram program in March 2015 soliciting the public to “crown” their heroes using our pop-up neon crowns and to share stories with #crowningheroes and #BasquiatAGO. Above are just a couple of the many powerful narratives shared. Check out #crowningheroes on Instagram to see many more.
There are only a few shorts weeks left to experience this once in a lifetime exhibition – Now’s the Time to experience Basquiat at the AGO!
Tags: Instagram, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now's the Time
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.