Scrolling through Jeremiah Roundtree’s Instagram that has newly graced the social media platform, I immediately get the feeling that I am a voyeur of an extreme talent. The items selected for photography aren’t of things that outside of a normal person’s grasp or line of sight; however, the beauty that is captured in these ordinary things through Jeremiah’s Samsung phone and via editing makes me feel like I haven’t seeing the world exactly right.
Artist Jennifer Shepit resides in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada where she constructs other galaxies with her bare hands, a bit of paint, and universes of imagination, so much so that I found myself sending poetry over to her to request her visual representation of my work. When I laid eyes on this piece of art, I love it so much that I am not even sharing a photo of it in this post as it is the part of a larger project that I cannot wait to reveal. I will say that it is more beautiful in person than it was in the image that she sent me upon completion, and I am stingily am holding onto the painting only parceling out glimpses to others as though it is a secret lover.
In 1961, the conquering Soviet army built a concrete wall 140km long, dividing Berlin into two factions. German families were separated and hundreds of defectors were shot on sight as they tried to escape East Berlin and the communist government of the USSR.
In 1987, David Bowie traveled to the Berlin Wall for a concert attended by thousands of people on each side of the wall. This taste of Western freedoms and music sparked riots in East Berlin and an anti-Soviet sentiment began to surge. In 1988, Bruce Springsteen performed in East Berlin, further inspiring the East German people to protest their confinement.
November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall finally fell, uniting Berlin and Germany for the first time in almost 30 years.
Did art fell the wall? The German Foreign Office thinks so. When David Bowie died in 2016, they tweeted “Good-bye, David Bowie. You are now among #Heroes. Thank you for helping to bring down the #wall.”
War and oppression cannot win while artists protest. Art matters. Believe that.
And believe this also:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
In 2012 the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hseih, moved his company headquarters to downtown Las Vegas. Where most people saw only tumbleweeds and falling down buildings, Hseih saw the potential for a vibrant cultured artistic tech center where his employees would want to live, work and play. He created the “Downtown Project” and poured millions of dollars into the area around Fremont Street, renovating buildings, opening new restaurants and investing in Life is Beautiful, a yearly festival celebrating inspirational speakers, world famous street artists and Vegas’ top chefs.