A labor of Love: Abner’s Tree process

This was a really challenging piece. It was a wrestle of self and soul, and of soul mates. Of ancestry and society. It was a necessary contribution to the dilemas that face us today.


We approached the work from a historical prospective looking for similarities and differences in past and present racial tension and injustices. All the while pondering the possibility of a unified future and asking ourselves what would liberty, unity, and justice for all look like in America.

For me this piece has grown me in many ways. I have wrestled like Jacob with God, seeking answers for past, present and promises for today and tomorrow. Despite the struggle, pain, and the ambiguous future.

In summing up my conclusions from this Art and Dialogue: Racial Tensions in America experience I believe that it does and will take all kinds of people to make the world a better place. Talking to my eye doctor yesterday, and African American man, we spoke of the bullet holes in the walls of A&T state university’s campus of Scott Hall dormitories. I told him my father was on campus at the time when shots rang out from National Guard weapons. Killing one student and wounding others. Now passed away, I wondered if my father would be proud of me and my work. My doc said “you know, you did something.” Which settled it for me.

My sister attended the Million Man March this past weekend. I love her strong, resilient and BOLD spirit. I told a friend if it was back in the day I would be Martin Luther King Jr. and she would Malcolm X. Our personalities are a bit different. 😉 But both men had their methods and they both contributed to society.

I encourage you, DO NOT DISCOUNT YOUR VOICE! You were created for HIS GREAT Purpose! We will not agree on every thing, however, allow God and His word to be your plumb line. If you build on His Word, no matter the quakes YOU will never be shaken.


Artist Statement and Process images

ABNER’S TREE is rooted in the words of 2 Samuel 2:26, “Then Abner called to Joab, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that the end will be bitter? How long will it be before you tell your people to turn from the pursuit of their brothers?”  And we ask you America, how long will it be?

This art birthed out of our response to our own history as people of the south with two opposing bloodlines and our present day events. We thought it only fitting to create this work together, black and white, husband and wife. We wanted to take an honest look at our history. Ask the hard questions. And open the door for truth, healing, and reconciliation.

We use a tree as the base because throughout many generations the tree has been a symbol of life and of death. It is a meeting place, an image of family, but it was also used to kill many through lynching. The tree itself is an image of tension. The glass surface is pivotal for this work. The work symbolizes a meeting place, and intersection of all colors, tribes, and creeds. No matter, age, gender, or race, as one engages with the piece, the audience will be forced to see through it and engage with those around them. Ultimately, we cannot escape each other. But through humility, an honest look,  love, and forgiveness there is hope of unity.

The painted tree is formed from our profiles. The flag is slumped half mass over the black female side of the tree. Her leg bears its weight in tribute to ancestry bloodshed and how much of America has been build and funded by oppressed peoples. The red from the flag morphs onto the blood from lives lost and riots that fill the streets.

We want viewers to write to us injustices that have been done against them or someone they know. No matter their background or incident. This is to promote honesty, healing and reconciliation. We will take all writings  and adhere them to the pedestal to create a memorial. Respond here or on FB

May Abner’s Tree offer an avenue  through which to grieve, heal, and reconcile. May it promote justice and unity while facing past and present conditions. May it lift heads to hope and provoke some to forgive and other to receive forgiveness as we move towards  a brighter tomorrow.



The Final Concept
Structural Logistics
At the Saw Mill
Milling the Base


Prep the Base
Build the Pedestal
Add Casters
The Final Glass Image
Frost the Glass
Create Image on Glass
In front of the Crown Humanities Building


Final On Display

 In Honor of those who have gone before us and a HUGE thank you who all contributed to the process and the dialogue.


“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” – Dr. ML King Jr










Krystal J F Hart


The world’s way of change or the Gospels way

With all the recent conversation on injustice one’s humanity cries out for answers, solutions, an anchor. Being a female who’s ancestry is part product of the slave trade one grapples with idenity, purpose, healing and place in society.

I often think of my sweet grandmother and our conversations about such matters. Passing at 100 years old she had seen her share of harships. But you know, she never focused on the shadows of the past. Sure she acknowledged them. But they didn’t define her. As much as I can gather, for as long as I can remember her identity was in Christ. She would put Him and mention Him first and last above all things.

If Christ is your Lord His standards must become ours also.

There are so many opinions, hurts, pains, and wounds in this life and in our history. Who can count every injustice but the one with the eternal book? He has recorded every deed down and all will be displayed at the judgement seat. 2 Corith 5:10 The thought of it makes me want to check my life inventory!

I’ve spoken to various people about the recent racial tensions in our nation. I love to hear views, young and old, black, white, red, yellow. Some people are heated just mentioning the subject. And rightly so. Others, more particularly olders generations hold a wider scope.

Could it be that Gospel principles don’t hold up today as a standard for living and soulutions for social delimas because much of our culture is void of the Word of God?

What defines you and me as people? Is it our race, gender, financial status, or where we were born? What makes you who you are? We must not forget where we come from. To do that is to loose part of our identity. But we must move forward in becoming who He has destined us to be. Know that the testimony is not in the trial but in the overcoming.

I believe that part of that overcoming includes forgiveness of self and others. For there is much blood on our hands as a nation.

Will God forgive my sin if I do not forgive my brother’s?

Can we all take an honest look at the injustices done as a nation to its own people, and to other nations? Can we allow all the greed, deceit, humiliation, oppression, and blood spilt come to the surface. To gaze upon it acknowledge the sin and forgive it?

Many argue that forgiveness does nothing. That it’s weak. That we must fight and fight and fight. I recently heard a quote by Grace Lee Boggs We put so much emphasis on taking over the power structure, and we became prisoners of it.

I’m not here to tell you where to stand. We must all find our plumb line. But I do beg the question, in the face of faith, past, present and future, Krystal, where do you stand?

Where does your allegiance lie? This is the hour of decision.

Scriptures that I have been chewing over as I walk this out.

Matthew 6:15
Genesis 50:17

Practically all of 1 Peter. Just read the whole thing. But specifically 1 Peter 4:7-8

There are many others that I will add as I find their text location.

Yours in His great love,


Krystal J F Hart

Art and Dialogue: Race in America

Learning to work hand in hand.

When we started this project we did not know what were digging into. The Art and dialogue project has become something greater than we imagined. Even before we knew that our piece would be accepted my hubs and I committed to do the piece as unified voice in the midst of  division and chaos.

imageMy hubs and I  began with an idea to work together as a way to display social, culture, and racial unity in the midst of division, violence, and deep rooted pain. As we begin to do research for our art  project we unearthed different opinions, perspective and mounds of historical events about racial tension in America. At the root of it most people react and respond out of fear, frustration, or pain. But I beg to ask the question is there something more here, is there something deeper that we can learn from our past and our present issues.


I could list the various historical and present day facts of violence against minorities and the particular injustice against blacks. We could discuss the injustice against Native Americans, Asians, Jewish, Hispanic  Americans, and also other who have migrated to this nation. To some it may be hard to believe but even white Americans from their different historically ethnic backgrounds have been discriminated against in some fashion. Even while writing this you see how divided we are I have to list SO many different types of Americans. Most times, if I travel overseas, I’m not white or black, I’m American!

I’m not saying that the disparity and the great gap of justice in America is fair. I’m not saying the injustice and violence is ok. But do we all as individuals value life or is the value of life and liberty subjective? At some point if we call ourselves American and we choose to coexist in this nation we have got to look at our past. Accept and acknowledge the wrong.  And choose a different future.

imageLook at the scars and imperfections of this oak tree. America is scared by slavery. There is much blood on her hands through violent and systematic means of oppression. However, to any person where wrong has been done, I say look at the wounds. Take off the bandages so some air and healing can get to it. Allow for the scab and embrace the scars as something horrible made beautiful. That’s what Christ does with all things. For healing and reconciliation is possible and for us to thrive as a people it’s necessary! It is likewise a time for oppressors to acknowledge and accept the evil, the wrong. It is the one who confess sin that is forgiven.

Only through forgiveness comes healing.

Let’s stop with the false pleasantries and really learn to live together in honesty of who we really are. May we all aspire to be our best self. Not out of faking it, pretentious and wounded underneath the surface but laboring at it together.
Let’s acknowledged that evil exist and determine in peace time where we stand. The battle is not against flesh and blood but against rulers and powers. If we fight the wrong battles, our sisters and brothers, we only destroy ourselves.

My husband and I are walking this out in our personal lives. For love to rule there is daily sometimes hourly sacrifice! 😄



Continue reading “Art and Dialogue: Race in America”

Ruins and Puffy Clouds

This week’s feature is 16 in  x 20 in mixed media work: Look up


Can there be, should you expect so much from the human soul, hope in perilous times? Is peace possible in the middle of a black night? Is there beauty, hope, life among the ruins?

Share with me your stories here.

Recreating how we see our landscape one stroke at a time.

Yours, with love







Krystal J. F. Hart

The Power of His Presence in the midst of suffering

Yesterday, a man approached me in a High Point University t- shirt. In the brief of our conversation he asks me about my salvation in Christ and tells me he gave His life to Christ four years ago. He tells me about his sick wife and how when he gets odd jobs he has enough money to get them a room for a few nights. Then its back on the streets.  At one point in the conversation he says “but instead of speaking what I don’t have I thank God for what I do have. It’s hard to believe but there are some way worst off that me.”

This conversation made me think about the book, Why Suffering by Raavi Zacharias and Vince Vitale that I started reading last weekend as we headed to a family reunion. Our family reunion was at an all American icon here in North Carolina, Bills Barbecue! A southern foodie must try if you are in the area!


The events of the reunion were similar  to ones in the past. We arrive, check in, say hellos, and give thanks for the food. Then most people gorge on foods that are rarely eaten everyday at home. As my 9 year old nephew put it “Its a family reunion, its all you can eat.” This is the same one who put down at least two plates of food several drinks and visited the dessert table at least 3 or 4 times!

What made this reunion different? I had the honor of sitting beside my aunt who is wheelchair bound due to multiple strokes. She wears a one false leg. Her arms and fingers are curled up permanently to her chest. There is a balled up bath cloth in each hand. She needs help doing mostly everything. Although her skin still looks smooth as of her youth, her face is gaunt and restricted in some places due to the losses from the stroke. Her speech is also garbled and at times completely unclear. My other nephew would look, stair, and at one time pointed. I believe he wanted  to know the story behind the image. And like always, we polite southern people are taught to smile and nod like all is well. But I thought No! If he wants to know her story he should.

I feel like culturally we to often pretend that there is not a big butt in the room. More times if we are real it may take the weird or uncomfortable out of it. I do understand that most times one doesn’t want to offend or hurt feelings and so we stay on the surface. I wonder if by going deeper, or just childlike honesty would people treat persons like my aunt with more humanity.

How often or eager are we to be around unusual or even down right ugly things? Things that do not fit into our image of normal? Its easier to pretend the ugly, suffering, sorrow doesn’t exist. From my own sufferings, though nothing compared to what I just mentioned, I understand the distance. The miss understandings. The rejection. The loneliness. Many do not want to be around ugly things. Its inconvenient, we are self preserving people. Others want to help, but often try to solve problems for you that you didn’t ask to be solved. Many people suffering just like to know you are with them. There is great power in presence!



As I sat beside my aunt I wanted to do something to bless her. To stand with her in love. People would come by, hug her, kiss her face, hand her money. These were the hands and feet of Jesus. I love how generous and humble our family is! They are the power of His presence in the midst of suffering.

The Power of Presence!

Many have stood with me and loved me when I thought I was broken and useless. In the first chapter of  Why Suffering  Zacharias says ” Ideas cannot bring lasting meaning, comfort, or hope. Only a person can.” Jesus and the relationship with Him is that.wpid-0704151659a.jpg

This could not have been expressed any better than during the entertainment hour. Hip hop was played. Dancers danced. My aunt sat quietly recovering from her big meal. It was only when one woman started singing old gospel song about God’s goodness and going home that the tears started to flow from my aunts eyes. Her husband wiped one side. I wiped the other. The songs continue. The tears continued. I, knowing the comfort of Jesus in the midst of complete darkness fought back my own tears as I thought of her everyday condition. Where these tears of joy that she is alive? I wondered if she still thinks about who she use to be. I wonder if she feels trapped in this injured body. Or she could have been crying for some other reason! But I do know that  only Christ truly knows her and her husband’s suffering, the loss, the mourning over her losses. No one else can get that deep with you and yours but Him!

He is the all comfort. All Peace, All Joy. Only trusting in Him can allow you to worship when there seems to be no hope at all. I must say some of my sweetest nearest times with Jesus have been when all was lost and He was the only thing I had to cling to.

And this is why we need creatives, to sing of His goodness, to paint of it, to write of it, to record it in every season of our lives. So that they may know of a hope and anchor beyond these shores. Join Me on this journey.

Yours with LOVE,


Krystal J. F. Hart



Human Trafficking: Your fight for Freedom


Since 2014 my church has been in partnership with ministries and organizations whose mission is to fight for freedom.  Human Trafficking is all around us. Not only globally, its in our country and neighborhoods. And most of us are unaware of it. We go about our busy lives undaunted by the pain and suffering of others. For some of us like myself, we often want to help but the magnitude of the task of ending modern day slavery is intimidating, overwhelming, and seemingly impossible. There are a brave few who dedicated their lives to such tasks. Find their links here.

We may not feel called to leave our day jobs start a 501(C)(3) and walk the streets looking for women, men, boys, and girls, who are sex or forced labor workers. But lets talk business here for a minute. Like my lady in shining muscles Miss Fit Tutor herself, Allison Lambert says ” its all about supply and demand.”

Simply put if we purchase products made from companies who use forced labor, slavery, we are siding with slavery not standing against it. The less demand for their products the more they will be willing to hear and change bad habits.

And men or women, if you engage or watch or support the billion dollar sex industry in any way you are perpetuating sex slavery. I told my husband if the men in our nation alone said no to porn, prostitution, other forms of industry sex it would bankrupt.

Use your purchase power!

I have in no way mastered using my purchase power. But we all must start somewhere. Personally as a descendant of slaves and a product of the slave trade I feel that I cannot turn a blind eye to how my lifestyle may empower or oppress others.

The task may seem dauting to overnight know how to make sure your dollars aren’t supporting a chid slave labor factory or the forced sex workers industry that influx into a city during the major sports event. But prayer, wisdom, research, and a little time can help you to be a more conscious shopper. Again, may our dollars empower not oppress.

If you are game, to help you get start our  Fit Tutor has come up with a small list. To thank her follow her, like her page, and purchase her services! She will get you 💪.

Heres the list


Happy to create life with you. Join us on this journey to breathe life into all areas of humanity through art. @artistkrystaljherae

Where Do We Go From Here?

I seek the divine in such darkness.
Where is the fair fight when the lights go out?
I scream and shout. I scream and shout. Much to no avail.
It seems that hell has seized that land, and no one understands me anymore.
Who has turned out the lights?!
I fight and fight to regain normalcy.
Embodied in the present past of traumatic events.
Will I move forward, or linger in the ashes of that which has been lost forever?
-Krystal J. F. Hart

Where Do We Go From Here was created with acrylics, inks, and an image transfer technique. I think of all that has been lost and ravaged by war and violence. I think of my own suffering and lost through my own traumatic experience. We are all but children aren’t we? I think of  “the children of Cain. Child leftovers from the fratricidal violence he symbolized.” -excerpt from Dr. Frank Wood.  The poem above can be seen interlaced through out the sky in the painting. When your storm is raging always remember, but there is still hope in utter darkness!


Painting : mixed media on stretched canvas.

Krystal J. F. Hart