Fri. Apr 16th, 2021

22 thoughts on “I Am Not an Artist of the Empire

  1. Thank you. What an incredible piece, just so powerful. I was moved to tears. I love the
    Artist Statement and her Work

  2. I like it, it’s like the old saying “The more things change the more they stay the same”. and it is time for changes,

  3. You have spoken words to the words most are unable to voice as we remain shackled to the empire and fighting amongst ourselves for favor by those who will never love us…

    1. Joye, thank you for your comment. It is time for us to come together as a community in order to love ourselves individually and collectively. The global elite are killing us! I grieve the power we have given away yet I hold out hope. When backed into a corner our people fight with fists raised high… the revolution will not be televised.

  4. You are so right, and I wonder if white Americans would recognise themselves as emissaries of their empire. Living in Great Britain for 50 years, I have tended to regard European empires as the ones with former empires…..and it is such a powerful word. Of course we had the Roman empire and the Mongol empire and Babylonian and Aztec and Austro-Hungarian…..Soviet…..etc etc …..all of which rose and fell and defined their power in geography. But the modern empire is more insidious as it enslaves minds and souls and spirits and is not merely held in place by soldier and weapons. The modern American/White empire is everywhere. But I think its days are numbered. Will the Chinese Empire replace it? I hope not. I hope that we are moving away from the idea of Empire… the need for empires fades. I di believe that empires are only about control, power, wealth and glory……the glory being sought because all of the citizens of the empire do not share in the control, power, and wealth of the empire. No. The poor and the enslaved are encouraged to believe that they are lifted and honoured by being citizens of the empire…….and these lowly members are led to believe that “their” empire raises them above those who have been conquered. They may be lowly, but they are above those who are not of the empire. That sort of slavery is the most difficult to erase – when the slaves of the empire identify with their oppressors……as if being a slave is an honour. I hope there are new seeds being planted though, the seeds of communion in which we all identify with each other because we feel safe and in harmony with each other as living beings with one life…….and that life began millions of years ago and can extend millions if years in the future only because of the part we each play in our daily lives. Our genes define us! Those genes that we share in common exceed those which are different……so your glory is my glory…..your beauty is my beauty…..your success is my success….your potential is my potential…..and your pain is my pain. And your child is my child. Unless we have that as our goal, we will be divided and used as slaves to empires. You are right. We must not serve the empire…..any empire. As I sit in my house in the Mediterranean sea, a prisoner of a virus, I feel closer to you across the seas than I have ever felt. That is the start!

    1. Thank you John. I am grieving for what we, the people have given away. I do not have an answer as to how we will survive. One person cannot change what is happening. My part is to do the art. It will take a global collective consciousness to bring about the changes necessary. You, by the words you have written here, are part of this conscious revolution. We must build a village community whereby like-minded people bring whatever gifts they have and lay them at the feet of the folk; writers, lawyers, artists,actors, doctors, on and on until media begins to re-shape reality echoing our sound chamber instead of that of the soul-less empire.

  5. I am moved and honored to know Gale and her work. The thoughts she has shared , along with the responses of all who read them, bring me gladness, and joy.

  6. Powerful. Moving. This stirred my soul. I can see and feel you and your philosophy spill out in the pieces.

    Thanks for taking me on this journey.

    1. Thank you DeWanda! I appreciate you, as one of my collectors you are a valuable stepping stone
      in my journey across rough terrain and troubled waters.

  7. Gale, you reveal how there can be no distinction between the written word and visual art when both mirror an artist’s an inner soul with emotional power, beauty and poignancy. You are among the finest of artists not simply because you produce masterful paintings but because you uncover what it means to be human, both bad and good.

  8. “Why did we give up the authenticity of our folk’s living and breathing culture resulting in giving license to the empire to manufacture and mass-produce us into replicas of themselves?” You pose an interesting question yet I might suggest that rather than “give up . . . authenticity” we surrendered (a perhaps subtle but I think important distinction) our cultural connections in the face of the Empire’s unrelenting brutality. Did Empire intend to replicate replicas of themselves? Perhaps; but inexact replicas, to be sure, that would allow Empire to maintain its perceived superiority.

    Empire has done a masterful job at convincing us we that we are no more than what we deserve to be. In L.A. police helicopters are unabashedly referred to as “Ghetto birds.” We can’t seem to shake the notion that we while we can excel at sports and entertainment, successes in business and political are still anomalies. Successful black people are “a credit to their race.” How many of us can identify Snoop Dog but not Henry O. Tanner? Jay-Z but not Jacob Lawrence? That is not a comparison of value but rather a comment about our lost and/or hidden culture. Empire has sown the seeds of inadequacy and works assiduously to perpetuate our ignorance and inferiority.

    And I deliberately capitalized Empire because it is not an abstraction but a living, breathing thing, like Jabba the Hutt, that still seeks to control.

  9. Bravo! Brava!!This is so powerful and poignant. Your words are as beautiful as your paintings, they too craft images in my mind of the darker days from ago and the brighter days emerging. My favorite part was when you said “The rulers are not the gatekeepers for my culture. I am!” It’s the “I am!” that resonated with me. I am is what God calls Himself and in Psalm 82:6 God tells His children “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons (and daughters) of the Most High.'” That being so, you are reclaiming your Divine inheritance, our Divine DNA!! I LOVE this piece. I LOVE you.

  10. oh yeah, a suggestion: The title “They’ve Killed Aunty J” you should add “… Aunt Jemima.” If Ron hadn’t told me, I would’ve missed the comedy. Without the explanation, the piece is somber and sober instead of liberating and celebratory.

    1. Thank you so much Perri.
      You obviously get it! You made the correct connection because
      I Am You and You Are Me! My TEDx Talk made in 2016 is all about I AM..
      The Aunty J piece is meant, in this instance, to be somber and sobering as it is me speaking metaphorically to the sanctioned murders of Black men and women by the police / the avatars of death. In the context of comedy I will send you an image titled “Photo Op with Aunty J” and she is very recognizable, alive, happy standing with me. My arm is around her shoulder. I LOVE you too Kiddo! You are a friend for life.

  11. Wow! Thank you Edward for your deep commentary.
    ….”The Empire has sown seeds of inadequacy and works assiduously to perpetuate our ignorance and inferiority…” It is very striking as to how much of the history of eugenics remains and manifests itself in the spirit and language that define this empire and its rulers approach to the current pandemic. We must talk virtually over drinks soon.

  12. While reading Gale’s piece what first came to my mind was
    ‘other worldly’. Upon reflection, it seems appropriate to me that NOW, May 18, 2020 is the time for another way of being in the world, seeing the world and feeling the world.

    With words like empire, avatar, soul suicide and cultural warrior, Gale
    transported me emotionally to a more expansive realm of awareness.
    Being an artist myself I especially liked her conclusion that she is no longer interested in the end product but much more the process of creating.
    There is prose, poetry and art in this piece.

    What I take away from the article is this: truth, inspiration, freedom and a call to action.
    It reminds me of what we speak about so often in the SGI Buddhism I practice “Human Revolution”.

    Thank you, Gale

    1. Thank you Elaine. I appreciate your comments. Words are powerful and sometimes transportive.
      I like trying to craft a sentence it means I can be more than a sketchbook scribbler. (smile)

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ROUTES, A Guide to African-American Culture