The Miracle That Was Gullah Artist Allen Fireall: Poem and Remembrance

 

What would you call it if you heard about an artist who had been declared legally blind and whose heart had lost the greater percentage of its strength but whom somehow continued to produce masterful paintings in brilliantly-colored detail? The word miracle may not be too extreme at all and it certainly should not be ruled out in the case of Gullah artist Allen Franklin Fireall, who passed away in Savannah, Georgia, on March 31, 2014.

Fireall described himself as an “artist historian” who dedicated his talents to preserving the culture and history of his people. In that sense, his work might be described as historical realism. The images he produced support that assessment in bold hues depicting scenes from African-American island and rural life in the Southeast.

Populating his canvases were: men hoeing row crops, women and men working beside each other harvesting collard greens, people gathered at a lake or river to be baptized, couples enjoying leisurely strolls on the beach, solitary brides in rowboats on their way to get married, fishermen making and casting nets, women sewing quilts, and men in barber shops playing checkers.

In his earlier stronger days, Fireall produced 10 to 15 medium and large-sized canvases every month. They found their way into collections across the globe through outlets in downtown Savannah and festivals and exhibitions throughout the Low Country. They were sometimes lyrically humorous and at other times poignantly sad. What made them miraculous in either case during his final years was that he continued to produce work at all after diabetes robbed him of his sight and a failing heart withered his strength.

Please enjoy the full article by Aberjhani by clicking this link:
The miracle that was Gullah artist Allen Fireall: Poem and remembrance – National African-American Art | Examiner.com
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Angel of Valentine Days and Nights: Editorial with Poem

 

Valentine's Day quote by Aberjhani from the book The River of Winged Dreams:

Varieties of angels, like varieties of love, are many. It is therefore not too surprising that the angelic imagery utilized to help celebrate Valentine’s Day tends to range from innocent blushing cherubs to winged beauties swagged out in erotic creations worthy of placement in a Victoria’s Secret catalog. 

Valentine’s Day itself, like most holidays in the modern era, has been heavily influenced by commercialism that focuses on the appeal of romantic fantasies. The effective marketing of Valentine fantasy movies such as Winter’s Tale (with Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, and Jessica Brown Findlay); and the film Endless Love (with Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer) support that observation. Movies can provide tear-inducing or comically-entertaining representations of love but many agree that its deeper conflicting complexities often seem unfathomable. That is largely because different human hearts often interpret their experiences of love in different ways.

 

Classic and the Modern Notions 

Classic romantic love is an emotional attraction between two individuals in which they may share a heightened awareness of mutual adoration. Erotic love, traditionally, has been described as shared sexual attraction. However, at least two modern concepts have prompted forums in which participants rethink and redefine the nature of erotic interaction. One is sapiosexual, which denotes such interaction is based on attraction to an individual’s intellect. The other is demisexual, wherein interaction is desirable only after an emotional or spiritual bond has been established to one degree or another.  

Divinely Speaking 

Agape love is commitment to humankind based on principles of fraternal and filial affection. Divine Love may be described as the dynamics of delight which the Creator and the Created take in recognition of transcendent eternal beauty, grace, and power representative of each other and present in all things. 

To read the poem by Aberjhani and check out the video featured with this post please click this link:
Angel of Valentine Days and Nights: Editorial with poem – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

To Wish a President Happy Birthday

President Obama celebrating birthday with family and friends.

President Obama celebrating birthday with family and friends.

With reports that the “honeymoon” phase of Barack Obama’s presidency have come to a close, it’s probably a good thing that today is his birthday and, because of that fact, he likely can count on some guaranteed TLC from various camps throughout the nation. The following was initially published in The Savannah Tribune in honor of the president’s inauguration and is presented at this time to say Happy Birthday Mr. President and thank you for hanging in there.

There upon a Bough of Hope and Audacity

Songbird of speckled feathers and new millennium eyes,
you trill notes of democratic vistas heavy with light.
Chords of miraculous notions enrich your blessed voice
with strength to sing dreams into deeds well done.
Above your head Sallie Hemings’ children laugh rainbows.

You are neither Christ nor King nor Lincoln.
But what you are is willing, capable, and sincere,
there upon a bough of hope and audacity
as branded by history as any have ever been.
Knights of global tables toast the lyrics of your vision.

A grand son of two continents, your heart marches
to the glorious world beat of universal drummers,
and your American dream dutifully follows: one step
for peace, another for justice, two more for strength.
Harriet Tubman’s tears splash prayers for your success.

From where you perch, the trade winds of destiny
lift your songs like leaves of silken prophecies,
scattering the soft true gold of their melodies and joy:
to their rhythm a world sways, hums, and dares to believe.

by Aberjhani
(from The Bridge of Silver Wings 2009)

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Birthday 2009: My Cosmic-Poet Beard in this Fifty-Second Year

Bearded Aberjhani chilling in a stress-free zone party environment.

Bearded Aberjhani chilling in a stress-free zone party environment.

Several years ago I began to compose biopoems to mark my birthday because this genre seemed to lend itself best to capturing the different layers and nuances of a creative individual’s life. For me, those layers are comprised of objective factual biography, interior symbolic representations of that biography, the various works produced by the individual author, and public perception or misperception of the same. Obviously, a single poem is not likely to provide a thorough documentation of an individual’s life (though some heroic efforts have come close) but by creating these poemized puzzle pieces I might one day be able to put them all together and come up with an interesting composite self-portrait in verse. For now, here’s to one more year and one more piece of a literary portrait in progress.

My Cosmic-Poet Beard in this 52nd Year

Like a twilight-gray net of silk moss and prayers,
my cosmic-poet beard in this fifty-second year
hangs loose beneath a canopy of dreams rediscovered.
Sways in starlit winds of humbled expectations.

Like slender tentacles of time and free verse,
feathery follicles blanket my heart
with visions of things new beneath the sun.
I see my past in this world fall on broken knees–

before a future stepping boldly through many others.

The green and golden winged bird of summer
last week sang icestorms in the back yard.
Cobalt eyes blinked lightning and suddenly
a rainbow wrote across the sky, “Lift up thine eyes oh poet.”

Scratching my fur-coated chin, out falls a tiny blue moon.
Then pages from an unpublished manuscript,
songs of my deceased children’s laughter,
some of MJ’s scorching angst and Obama’s lyrics too.

My cosmic-poet beard in this fifty-second year
cannot compete with the white of new snow
or the regal stretch of eagles’ wings soaring
on currents of humored wisdom and chastised glory.

Happy with its muse, it sings rhymes and pays me no mind.

By Aberjhani
© July 2009

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