Taking the boys to Art and Dialogue

 

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After the Art and Dialogue opening October 24th I really wanted to take my nine and ten year old nephews to see the artwork, hear their response to the works and their perspective of race today.

They jump and slide through the exhibition doorway. Once in we begin our gaze at the work along the wall. I read portions of artist statements to them. One would ask questions and the other would loose attention and bop to another piece.

As we approached Tasnif’s work of the Drinking Fountain sign titled New Paint, Old Scars I ask my nephews if in their perspective, was the today’s Muslim struggle comparable to their knowledge of the Jim Crow laws in Black American history.  After giving my comment a few seconds of though they said “No”.

As we move through the exhibition space the tone is light and playful. They would stop every now and then to read, ask questions, or comment. One would frequently complain ” Is this all there is? I thought there would be more…” Quickly the light moment changed as they danced past Titus Brooks Heagin’s hoodie or hooded photography seen here.

 

imageThe younger one points to the black female in the brown hoodie with pink hearts “She from the hood” he says. I ask him “Why, how do you know?” “I can tell” he says. I say, “She could be in high society and just coming from the gym.” I point at the older White female in a pink hoodie, “What about her,” I ask? “No she’s not from the hood, but she is.” Referring to the initial image.

I honestly had not taken the time to contemplate my own initial perceptions or reactions to the imagery. What would I have said as a nine year old? One thing that I love about children is that they say what the adult world maybe or may not be thinking. As we grow up we often filter what really springs forth from our hearts, or minds.

To some degree to look at a person we judge a person. Like an impulse, our consciousness begins to evaluate before we are aware of the depths of our conclusions. Friend or foe, rich or poor, beautiful or unattractive.

So I pointed to the third photo a Black male with dreads, also in a hoodie. “What about him?” “Oh yes he is,” he says without hesitating. “How do you know.” “He looks like it. And he has dreads. Most people with dreads are bad people.” Stunned I said “Your brother has dreads! Is he a bad person!” “Noooo!” He replied and attempted to build a case for his comments. I turn to his brother, who has now made himself at home in the exhibition space and is rolling around part on a long cushioned bench and partly on the floor.
“Are you a bad person?” He pops his head up. “No!” “Are you from the hood?” He straightens up “NO!” “You sure you not from the hood?” I say teasing him. His answer was definitive “NO!”

I then begin to speak to them about perceptions, appearance, and even learning  to listen to the voice of God. I tell them a recent story about how God directed our appearance that saved us from unneeded trouble overseas.

As we left the building, I walked away contemplative. Its one thing to talk about the social biases, skewed perceptions in colorism and it’s another thing to see it play out in people you know and love. The reality is that we all bear a personal social reality. Often which, parts are shaped by media, home life, and our culture at large. Is there a way to reprogram or heal our images of races, ethnicities, goods, and evils without an overhaul of our American culture and it’s systems?

We must be aware of how deep the scars go.

Because of the vast complexities in our world, in the choice to love or hate, one must determine within themselves how they will respond and respect others before tension arise. We cannot control a persons perceptions. But we can cultivate a culture of unity and love. Even in the face of adversity unto death, Christ chose to love and to pray for His persecutors. May we have the grace to do the same.

Stay tuned, for our next creative adventure. Join us on FB

Catch all information on the exhibition that will be open until October 11th HERE

Yours,

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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!

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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!

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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,

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Krystal J. F. Hart

 

 

That girl in the Vietnam War Photo

 

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This March I got the pleasure of meeting an international icon. She is not your well known music or film celebrity. Most  pop culture will not recognize her name or her image.  But the world knows and loves her by a single photo taken in 1972 during the Vietnam War.

Not only did I get to sit under her words of wisdom during the March 2015 Women’s Initiative ICM conference. We also had the honor of taking her out to dinner.  The best part of the weekend was the after dinner conversation with Kim Phuc back in her room. We both laughed and at some point we both cried. She poured out her wisdom for a Christian life. As we shared our pains and sufferings and encouraged one another our hearts were knitted together that night. I know for God’s great purpose.

Still traveling and speaking, Kim uses her experiences to spread a message of faith in Jesus, forgiveness, and empowering others. Especially the children of war. For more info visit Kim Foundation.

CNN recently did a special on her Kim Phuc Where is she now? Because of her travels I may not always know where she is. But we do keep in touch by email or the surprise phone call. Prayer and encouragements are the center.

Other than to brag about my friendship with Kim Phuc why am I telling you this story? As an artist my job is to create and recreate. I have the identity of my heavenly Father, and so do you! He created all the wondrous beauties of the world out nothingness, out of a formless void. Now today, your life may be beautiful as morning dew resting on fresh spring flowers or it may look like an atomic bomb when off and has scatter everything to pieces.

The Bible speaks vividly of the sufferings of man. But it also promises that peace is available in all circumstances.

I think of all that Kim as walked through and I see where she is. Despite terrible pain even today the evidence of God’s goodness and faithfulness in her life is so real and so pure. And in His goodness He saw it fit to knit two very different lives together for His purpose. Know that He has made you an overcomer! He has equipped you to bear the storm and thrive! Allow Chirst to work his miraculous beauty in your life. Let Him speak into those areas that are formless, that are reckless. You do not have to be an artist to create and recreate. God can meet you where you are. Allow His word to create new life within you and around you every part of your day. You are not alone in your journey. We are knited together. I encourage you to keep walking with Him, or to start walking with Him and trust Him. You will live utterly amazed.

Remember: The Lord is my light and my salvation whom/ what shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

Yours with LOVE,

 

 

 

 

 

Krystal J.F. Hart

Chasm

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Chasm is about exploring the great difference in worlds using visual symbols of the world as we know it. The physical and the spiritual. Christ was the rock that created the chasm in earth. We are earth. Because of this great and violent divide we now have access to the heavens.

The veil was torn and now we can walk with God.

Art areates the earth. Only them may our parched souls receive the fresh rains from heaven. Join us on this incredible journey to regenerate culture, life, and beauty through art.

-Krystal J F Hart

Together!

After church my 14 year old friend comes up to me, shoulder bag in hand. Pulling out her painting we spoke of a week ago. She hands it to me waiting my advise on her work. Silence passes as I look for what to say. We speak of her work and I motivate her to keep going. I even share some of the insecurities I am overcoming.

Its exciting to see younger ones pursue their creative passion.

Much to often creativity is discouraged for more realistic or productive things. Creatives have a duty to pour into culture. It is our call and service to humanity. Often its underappreciated and little supported. We all need practical things food, shelter, medical needs. But to often we trade deeper things for shallow immediate needs and our souls are neglected. Im not saying use you grocery money to buy art. I am saying be a beauty seeker in all moments of your daily life. We are not still long enough to breath. Exhale the clutter and inhale fresh air. A renewed mind. Even our vacations are busy. How many have heard or said I need a vacation after my vacation.

A sick soul can destroy the body. We can only survive on cotten candy but for so long. We need deeper things just as our bodies need a full meal.
My dear friend was seeking affirmation, encouragement and feed back to get better. We must support each other’s creativity so that the whole earth may be watered well.
Hey! Its more than possible! Lets do this together.

Krystal J F Hart
Aerate The Earth

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!

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Painting : mixed media on stretched canvas.

Krystal J. F. Hart

The Rose Bed and Breakfast: 2015

A last minute decision to head to southern North Carolina Memorial Day weekend left us scrambling for a place to stay. Now, I feel like I was spoiled so many years when I just stayed with my grandma. I never payed attention to directions and never needed a place to stay.

My hubs has been planing a trip for weeks now and me, the go get’em planner, do everything early person that I am, promised myself I would stay out of it. I wanted to honor my hubs excitement and planning. He was like a big kid with big dreams for one weekend! I loved watching his joy.

When it came to the week of the getaway and still nothing I found out that my family was having a mini reunion and hubs hasn’t met them. So, I do a quick search for some locations and then ask if he wouldn’t mind going there.

I glanced at this bnb and it is no where near the beach, which is what hubby wanted. From the map it looked to be in the middle of nowhere! And of course everything near the beach is booked because its Memorial Day weekend! But I thought, “You know Lord I am going to trust you. You know where we need to be and when we need to be there.”

I think we finally booked a room Thursday before we need to leave on Saturday. Yeah this is how we roll! Ill have to tell you how we planned our honeymoon. Some of you would Flip Out!

Yeah, this is Holy Spirit living 😋.

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The Rose Bed and Breakfast

Photos do NOT do this hidden gem justice. Tucked right off HWY 17 you can get to many of the nearby attractions on 20 minutes or less. Feels like you are visiting family. The Jersey family owners have mastered southern charm. The treats are out of this world. I was on a sweet fast before this vacation.

That woman can THROW DOWN! When we arrived there were chocolate peanut cookies on the table. After checking into our spacious and brightly colored rooms we were handed a menu for breakfast. Fully cooked to order. You may even want to lick the plate!

This place also captured us for is quite location. Its great for writing, resting, creating, eating 🙂 and the like. There 13 ft long custom entertainment system floored me. It held everything from vinyl records to blue ray disks complete with 3d glasses.

Sunset beach is 6 miles away. Much to our surprise while driving one those two lane highways we followed a sign to Silver Coast Winery in the Ocean Isle Beach area and enjoyed a little wine tasting while looking around their art gallery and gift shop. There is also the famous Calabash area where you can eat seafood until you start to grow gills. We also drove 20 minutes into South Carolina to check out the outlets. And if you are a golfer, thats near by too.

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If you are ever in south east North Carolina definitely check The Rose bnb out. You will not be disappointed.