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A REFLECTION

I thought long and hard about celebrating Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the freedom of enslaved people.

My moods have been up and down. For days, I laid in bed. I built walls. I discovered truths I didn't know I was ready to receive. I ran in fields of grass and screamed in woods. I cried, and I cried, and I cried.

It sometimes feels like it's too much, however I am now learning it's about layers. Deciding and navigating which layer you can deal with at any given moment is the name of the game here and now. I am working hard to be kinder to myself. I am beginning to accept that life is a marathon, not a sprint (RIP NIP). Sounds cliche, nevertheless it still rings true. 

Juneteenth is a fucked up holiday to celebrate, but it is a great day (way) to start thinking about those who've come before us. Look at how much our ancestors built from slavery to freedom -with the little freedom they did have. Now we must exercise the freedom we have for the generations to come. I write to you today, proud of my heritage and thankful for the life I have been given as a result of the work and sacrifice of those before me. Juneteenth is a reminder to be brave. Our ancestor were. Coming from nothing, they kept hope alive. They walked with courage and found strength. They refused to let fear of the unknown paralyze them. They embraced self confidence. They woke up everyday and continued on...for us and themselves. It is our time to push forward, even if we do not reap the benefits.   

This ARTLETTER serves as an open invitation for you to sit back and reflect. Sometimes, the best reflection comes from watching. Watching My Feelings: A Reflective ARTLETTER is filled with feelings and films that will inspire, teach, and expand your way of thinking and being. Take your timeeee.

Time seems to be the only thing we can count on in moments like this. 

With love, 

Ciarra K. Walters
SCULPTURE GARDENS 
I was beyond excited when The National Gallery of Art announced the reopening of their sculpture garden. Even in the rain I was skipping, smiling. and sailing through the garden. It felt GREAT getting my family out the house and see art in person (while wearing a mask and social distancing of course).
Oh, how I've missed being around art. 

 
For those craving to see some art, here are three sculpture gardens that are open! Click on the links below for their hours + updates. 
 
Los Angeles: UCLA Sculpture Garden 
New York City: Socrates Sculpture Park 
Washington DC: National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

First Photo: (front) Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 1989 
(back) Mark Di Suvero, Aurora, 1992-1993
Second Photo: Ellsworth Kelly, Stele II, 1973 
SNEAK PEAK 
PERFORMANCE 
Last year, I felt heavy. Heavy with fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Throughout this time in quarantine, I have found those feelings still present and have used my body as a means of expression. In 2019, I fell in love with sculpture and began mimicking pieces with my body. By 2020, my body became the sculpture and nature became my studio. Performance has not only helped me evolve as an artist, it has given me an outlet to release. Through movement and breathing, I am able to pull myself into the present. I have my hands in a number of projects! In the meantime, here are four stills from performances in the process. Stay tuned for future premiers. 
RECENT WORKS 
A few weeks ago on Zoom, I premiered In Red, a meditative video performance piece focusing on the Root Chakra, presence in the body, and the spiritual need for grounding one's self. Now on Vimeo, watch the 3 minute video above. 
BLACK CINEMA 
FOUR FILMS
Discovering Black cinema was like pinpointing a craving I could never fulfill. Watching Black cinema was like coming home. I understood it, I felt it, and it felt me. It understood me. It embraced my thoughts and desires. It said and showed the things I desperately wanted to create. The versatility of Black cinema is boundless. It is our responsibility to create and share these films. 
 
I am excited to share some of my favorite films by Black filmmakers. Above we have stills from Kathleen Collins' Losing Ground, Horace Jenkins' Cane River, (two directors gone too soon), Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust, and William Greaves' Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. 
CRITERION
You can find all four films on Criterion Channel, along with a fantastic playlist Criterion curated called, Black Lives. This playlist holds 24 films from both Black and white directors portraying Black life. Find yourself in a whole new world here

KANOPY
If you have a Los Angeles library card, you can access thousands of films on Kanopy for FREE. The hidden gems are hiding here.

I curated a playlist, Finding Our Stories, on Kanopy with a few of my favorite Black documentaries, movies, and artist talks. Dive in here. 
THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE

Last week I came across The Black Power Mixtape, a film by Swedish filmmakers documenting the Black Power and Anti-War movement in America from 1967-1975. It features contemporary audio interviews from leading Black artists, activists, musicians and scholars. It is empowering and educational. It is a film that is important to watch as a new revolution begins. Watch it for free here. 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
TOAN'S ART TALKS WITH FRIENDS
 
TOAN's founder, Miriha Austin, asked Antione Girard and I to host a live conversation (this time on Zoom) for TOAN Magazine's June virtual programming.

We put together a presentation featuring 20 powerful pieces of work by Black artists, discussing the roles of art during a revolution and in our everyday lives.
For an hour, AJ and I highlight 10 art works that changed the way we see art, ourselves, and Black culture. Check out Pt.1 here.

Pt. 2 COMING SOON!
Look out for Pt. 2 live Zoom talk next week! Official date will be announced on my Instagram. We'll be sharing and discussing the last 10 pieces of the presentation! 
INSTAGRAM ART STORIES
When in doubt, make an Instagram story.

As the protests and riots started, I felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the headlines, my part in the revolution, and overwhelmed by the world. Too numb to move, I turned to what I always turn to in a time of crisis: A R T

I knew I wanted to post content that would help with the pain we were feeling as a whole. I wanted people to use a different part of their brain and tap into another feeling besides anger. I knew this was a part I could play as I continued to digest new and old information.

I curated two art stories, For the Pain and For the Pain Pt. 2, featuring works by a diverse group of artists (mostly Black) who used their art as a revolutionary act. These are pieces that document time, make political statements, and overall, express their feelings about the world around them. 

Watch For the Pain here and For the Pain Pt. 2 here. I hope these works uplift and inspire you. 

First Photo: Faith Ringgold, United States of Attica, 1972

Second Photo: David Hammons, African American Flag, 1990 
THE FIRST ARTLETTER

Didn't see the first ARTLETTER?
Click here for book recommendations, art playlists, art talks and more.
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Thank you for your support :)
Ciarra K. Walters, The Power of Knowledge: The Library of Congress, 2019
Copyright © 2020 CIARRA K. WALTERS, All rights reserved.

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Ciarra K. Walters · 808 N. la Brea Ave · Los Angeles, CA 90302 · USA

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