How do you explain to a kid that the world isn’t fair? That it isn’t safe?” artist Michael D’Antuono asks, referring to his latest painting, The Talk.
In the painting, no one in the room is smiling. Not Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Not President Obama. Not the mother and father who lean in towards their young black son to have “the talk.” The only ones smiling aren’t in the room; they’re on TV — a once bubbly but now deceased black boy sporting a hoodie and an older white cop, sporting his officer’s uniform and a smug grin. The news title flashing on the TV screen explains the strained mood: “No Indictment in Police Shooting of Unarmed Youth.”
“That’s a hard thing to say,” D’Antuono continues, “so I don’t have them speaking. I have them struggling to find the right words.”
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In Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, a painting from the 16th century offers an early depiction of the connection between Blacks and Jews. The anonymous artist captured a typical scene in the busy port city, but careful examination by an art curator in Baltimore revealed an overlooked instance showing the connection between the races, writes the Jewish Daily Forward.
Joaneath Spicer, the James A. Murnaghan curator of Renaissance and Baroque Art at the Walters Art Museum, was working on a catalog for “Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe” exhibit, when she noticed the heavy presence of Jews in the painting. The photo shows two Jewish policemen seemingly hauling off an African man to jail.
“I was really unaware of the presence of so many Jews in this painting until I began to blow up details of a photo in preparation for installing the work,” shared Spicer. “This is the only image I know of — certainly painting from this period that purports to show Jews from life.”
Blacks and Jews lived in joined neighborhoods near the port, which at the time was considered the poor part of the city. Jews held African slaves in some homes, but were said to treat their servants with respect. Additionally, as written in the Forward piece, children of African slaves were born free and rose to prominence in the coastal European country.
Spicer was careful not to compare slavery in the 1500s in Europe to the ugly occurrences across the seas in the Americas. “The fact that at the beginning of this period most of the slaves were White does go a long way,” she added.
The exhibit runs at the Walters Art Museum until Jan. 21 before heading to the Princeton University Art Museum.
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity recently completed five home repair projects on Milwaukee’s Clarke Square neighborhood last week as part of ‘A Brush With Kindness blitz.’
Approximately 75 volunteers from Eppstein Uhen Architects, FIS, Target and Journey House were on site each day working on painting projects, drywall and porch repair and siding, gutter, window and door replacement.
“My wife Araceli and I have five kids to take care of and our energy bills last winter were outrageously expensive,” Javier Tejeda said. During the blitz week, volunteers installed new, energy efficient window, doors and siding in the Tejada’s home.
“This program is making our home safe and secure for our children,” Tejada said. “We feel so blessed to be involved with A Brush With Kindness and we are so grateful for work of the volunteers,” he added.
A Brush With Kindness is a program of Habitat for Humanity that provides minor repair services for qualified, low-income homeowners who are unable to undertake repairs themselves due to issues of affordability and/or physical ability.
A Brush With Kindness is supported locally by a grant from the Joseph and Vera Zilber Family Foundation and underwritten nationally by Valspar.