I was in my friend Fiona’s kitchen, blurry eyed, deleting junk mail. Then I saw it.
Worn down by the months in quarantine and the loss of my relationship, I had become a dull mound of soft tissue. Without a job, or a place to call my own. I was caught between what I used to know and the unknown, between the northern and southern hemispheres and between the prime of my adult years and the youth of my old age. There was no good news anymore. Just a series of slowly uncovered horrors. Invisible and painful things that were eating away at what I thought my life was in the end of May 2021. Until I saw it.
I checked the email three times before I said it out loud. Fiona had stopped what she was doing behind me in her kitchen. She heard the gasp, and then the focused silence from me. Once I was confident enough in what I had read, I told her.
“I knew something had happened!”, she said in her charming Cornwall English accent.
Months prior I had submitted some of my drawings and embroidery to an open call for art to create! magazine. The juror for this twenty sixth edition was Sasha-Loriene, an artist from Maryland and founder of Black Girls Who Paint. I read her artist’s statement and biography and remember thinking she’d be a good set of eyes to put my stuff in front of. I paid the $32 USD fee, and uploaded my pictures.
I had started submitting to open calls in February of 2020, before the quarantine, before I discovered the texts on his phone from the woman I came to realize wasn't just his student. Before his dad died, before he started drinking again, before my world as I knew it unraveled. I didn’t realize it then, but in submitting to these open calls I had been planting seeds. Seeds I didn’t yet know I was going to need.
And now, months later I could see something wiggling free from the hard clay beneath my feet. Create! magazine was going to have my things, things they would call art, in their pages. Pages that would be between other pages filled with art. Real art, made by real artists. Artists who were in galleries, some even in museums. Maybe it’s something, I have thought to myself. Maybe it’s just that Sasha-Loriene, could feel a bit of me calling from under the marks of colored pencil, needle pricks and the pull of embroidery floss.
Maybe it’s the start of something. The start of something I can't yet see or know.
Vamos a ver.
Here are the links:
Black Girls Who Paint: