Nuestra Palabra Turns 21

Nuestra Palabra Turns 21 and Transforms Houston & Latino art                        

Houston, Texas, February 22, 2019With two decades under its belt, Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say has made a significant impact on the city and its arts. Now, as the group celebrates its 21st anniversary, Nuestra Palabra is poised to take Latino Art and Literature to the next level and fuel a city a wide movement to make Houston the nation’s leader in delivering Latino Art and Culture.  Nuestra Palabra plans to accomplish this by helping the community take advantage of new technology to work more closely together. One example of this is the new website www.MANTECAHTX.com. This is the nation’s first online directory for Latinx artists ranging from visual artists to writers, to musicians and filmmakers.

“We are cultural accelerators,” said writer, Tony Diaz, the founder and director of Nuestra Palabra. “We have worked to cultivate our community’s voice through literature. We are now collaborating with other art forms through technology to multiply our efforts and reach more of our community. Houston will be seen as the nation’s leader for supporting and delivering our community’s art.”

MANTECAHTX.Com is a collaboration with Houston Latina visual artists. It is made possible in part through a grant from City Initiatives.

Nuestra Palabra is also the fiscal sponsor for Macondo Writers, the writers retreat founded by writer Sandra Cisneros over 20 years ago. Nuestra Palabra helped the group launch, maintain, and market its website. Over 100 applicants apply for the annual workshops which take place in San Antonio and are conducted by the leading Latino writers in the nation, take place annually in San Antonio. Nuestra Palabra will soon be making a major announcement with Texas A & M University San Antonio about The Macondo Writers Workshop.

Nuestra Palabra’s 21st anniversary showcase will reflect all of these influences as well as the group’s dedication to literature and literacy. The literary celebration is funded in part through a grant from City Initiatives. It will take place Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Brown Auditorium. Admission is free. RSVP at www.NuestraPalabra.org.

The evening will feature:

The Godfather of Chicano Literature, Dagoberto Gilb who is the author of nine books, including The Magic of Blood, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, Woodcuts of Women, Gritos, The Flowers, and Before the End, After the Beginning. He is also the editor of two canonical anthologies, Hecho en Tejas: Texas Mexican Literature and Mexican American Literature, and the founding editor of Huizache, the country’s best Latino literary magazine

Mari Carmen Ramirez is The MFAH Wortham Curator of Latin American Art. She will discuss the museum’s holdings of Mexican American and Latino art.

Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garciawill make a special announcement on a new Latino Art Initiative.

The evening will feature leading Latino writers, thinkers and leaders, as well as 3 Nuestra Palabra 2nd Generation Writers who began writing with Nuestra Palabra and are now nationally published authors.

Poet Lupe Mendez will present his his new book “Why I Am Like Tequila”.

Poet Jasminne Mendez will read from her new book “Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry”.

Poet Leslie Contreras Schwartz will read from her book “Nightbloom & Cenote”.

 

Who: Latino leaders, thinkers, and writers

What: Celebrate Nuestra Palabra’s 21st Anniversary

When: Wednesday April 3, 2019. 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

Where: Museum of Fine Art, Brown Auditorium 1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005

Why: Nuestra Palabra has transformed the landscape for Latino Literature and is now changing Latinx art for the next generation.

Contact:  Tony Diaz
Tony@NuestraPalabra.org (713) 867-8943

Librotraficante, P.O. Box  41628, Houston, 77241

N I G H T M O T E L

 

  N I G H T  M O T E L                                                           Claire O’Brien 

 

Untitled /. Claire O’Brien

 

Follow the Green Line / Claire O’Brien

 

Taxi Service /. Claire O’Brien

 

The King of Baltimore ./ Claire O’Brien

Post-Colonialism: Four Visual Reports


REPORT NUMBER  ONE: “Let me out! I can’t breathe,  let me out!”

 

REPORT NUMBER TWO :” Um, sorry, can’t talk now.”

       

REPORT NUMBER THREE:“All these trade deals blocking my vision!”

 

         

      REPORT  NUMBER  FOUR:  “Huh? Oh, we’re cool.        Everything’s cool. Must have been a false alarm”         

   T   B Y  C L A I R E   O’ B R I E

 

Havana Times Photo Contest, 2016

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GANADORA: “Bendecidos por la lluvia” / Eduardo Garcia, Cuba

 

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Un momento emocionante e íntimo de una abuela y nieta. / Felix Lupa

 

                                         Ernesto Gonzales Diaz

 

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Esposos con 100 años / Felix Lupa

 

Mención  Especial /  Alfonso Aguilar, México

 

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Mención Especial – A un paso de la gloria.  Rafael Velázquez Mora, México

 

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Mención  Especial: Dame platanos.  Ghyslaine Peigné, Francia

 

 

Broken Hearts

self portait

 

When the past refuses to stay in the past, it usually heads straight for thepresent. There, it’s easy to spot, because it’s usually causing a racket of some kind. If you order it back, this type of past will appear to comply, but it never departs in good faith. As soon as you’re sure it has finally obeyed, it will show up somewhere else, claiming to be the present.

Maybe it is throwing rocks at a tank in Palestine. Maybe it is an old Jewish man, lighting a candle in Warsaw. Maybe it is a pirate in the Sudan. Maybe it is sneaking across the Mexican border. Maybe it is a 16-year-old gang member aiming a gun at a 15-year-old drug dealer in southwest Chicago.

Or maybe it is a broken heart in Indonesia.

 

Art and text by Claire O’Brien / 2015

Beloved of Allah: the Most Beautiful Man

aliBoy

When Ali refused the draft, I felt something greater than pride: I felt as though my honor as a black boy had been defended, my honor as a human being… The day he refused, I cried in my room. I cried for him and for myself, for my future and for his, for all our black possibilities.

Gerald Early

 

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With the Nation of Islam, listening to the Prophet Elijah Muhammed

 

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With his friend, Minister Malcolm X

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.… If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”   April, 1967

 

AliHeadlines

“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”   March 30 1967

muhammad aliWithKids 

“In your struggle for freedom, justice and equality I am with you. I came back to Louisville because I could not remain silent while my own people, many I grew up with, many I went to school with, many my blood relatives, were being beaten, stomped and kicked in the streets simply because they want freedom, and justice and equality in housing.”

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“Here was the heavyweight champion, a magic man, taking his fight out of the ring into the arena of politics and standing firm. The message was sent.”

Sonia Sanchez

 

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“I’m king of the world! I’m pretty! I’m a bad man! I shook up the world! I shook up the world! I shook up the world!”

 

aliRunning

He shook up the world.

AFRICA IS EVERYWHERE: Jean-Michel Basquiat

untitled (head) by jean-michel basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an influential American artist who achieved fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s, credited with bringing graffiti to the fine art world of painting alongside Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. Though Basquiat never finished high school, he grew up visiting the Brooklyn Museum of Art and took an interest in art from a young age. His early work consisted of tagging in downtown New York with his friend Al Diaz under the pseudonym SAMO©, and Basquiat later went on to create numerous collaborations with Pop Art icon Andy Warhol.
Dustheads

So, you want those graffiti artists arrested and stopped?

Basquiat is considered part of the Neo-Expressionist movement alongside Julian Schnabel andDavid Salle, with his politicized canvases blending African imagery and symbolism with the movement’s characteristic gestural marks and bright patches of color. Born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, NY, Basquiat spent his life working in New York until his death from a drug overdose on August 12, 1988, at the age of 27.

Text in green by John Berger, Harper’s Magazine, April 2011

Yolanda Baltimore and the King of Michigan

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Yolanda Baltimore and the King of Michigan / Claire O’Brien 2015

Five minutes after Yolanda Baltimore’s escape, everyone inside the Detroit Emergency Management Camp knew that she had not only spotted the sign on time, but had also displayed a spectacular, even singular finesse, the like of which may well not be seen again

Hearts soared with hope and pride. That Yolanda.

DetroitTowers

They could not have asked for a stronger sign. The sky brimmed over with the brightest stars anyone had ever dreamed. Immediately, over 500,000 people began moving outward from the center of Detoit. This movement was so intensely focused, so controlled, so slow and so impossibly quiet that it was almost impossible to see. At least that’s what the government observers who were supposed to be monitoring the Camp’s massive NSA security system kept reporting, until officers threatened to throw the next guard who “just couldn’t see right” down an open mine shaft into Camp Appalachia.

tiresTitle

Alicia Evans-Gonzalez prepared to step into the flow of people from her position in a crumbling doorway in Section Nine, where she’d been pretending to nod off on the low-grade heroin that managed to make it past the machine guns, razor wire and drone attacks when bread and milk could not. The United North American Home Security Forces had no idea that actually, only a handful of people in the Detroit City Concentration Camp continued to use heroin. That meant 8,000 troops the UNAHSF didn’t know about.

Evans-Gonzales scratched herself convincingly, then lowered herself with one brief twist into the passing stream.

Ten seconds later, she had disappeared.

deadstreet

“We had no doubt we would win. We knew we would win” Evans-Gonzalez told her grandson, DeRay twenty years later as the two worked together at the 15th George Jackson Memorial Apple Harvest. “We just knew. We’d been preparing ourselves every moment, from that first morning we woke up to find the city surrounded by razor wire, electric fences and gun towers, attack dogs patrolling and helicopters buzzing overhead – right up to the night of Yolanda’s escape.”

Evans-Gonzales bit into a big Yellow Delicious apple.

“Well, of course we’d actually been preparing for generations,” she corrected herself as she chewed.

“But why didn’t you send a grown-up?” asked Deray, who thought of himself as twelve years old. Actually, he had just turned eleven.

“An adult wouldn’t have stood a chance. Believe me, we tried,”  Evans-Gonzalez replied. “Six lives were lost before the People agreed that our only hope lay in the kind of person the guards had always ignored: a little girl.”

DeRay nodded.

“Sometimes we make everyone a king,” he said.

His grandmother smiled.

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DetroitPlant

SPEAKING OF LITTLE GIRLS

Yolanda had crossed the Buffer Zone,  a mile and a half of flattened rubble encircled by a high fence. Several times she had laid down flat at the approach of a helicoptor, but the searchlights had swept the sky, not the ground below, and she had felt very glad to be a small girl.

Now Yolanda stood very still, looking through the fence and standing free. Evening had just fallen, and it had begun to rain. She had nearly arrived at her destination, a small garage at the end of a one-way street, and had begun peering about sharply for the message she had retrieved in dozens of dreams over many months.

Yolanda was eight years old. The world was wet, but not dark – the impossible stars were almost too bright to know what to do with themselves. But the fence was very high. Yolanda might have been afraid, but then she wasn’t – how could she be? she asked herself.

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We dreamed that Yolanda could fly

For surrounding her as far as anyone could  possibly imagine, in every direction were the People, stretching out to her from the prison that could never hold them, from across the country, across the skies, across the oceans and across the centuries. There were the living, of course, as well as the people still to come. She did not know about other people’s ancestors, but as for her own, Yolanda Baltimore’s ancestors were here, right here – and they left no question about it.

NJKBlnixxtest (1)

Please click on the link above. It’s a contribution from Eddie Star at http://eddiestarblog.wordpress.com

Check out Mr.Star’s blog!

END OF PART ONE ∇ TUNE IN SOON FOR PART TWO

Havana Times Photo Contest

Eduardo Javier Garcia

Leonardo Oña

Carolyn Looby

 Mariska Verbeij.

                                      Bill Klipp