My Soul Will Be A Star – The Resilience and Creativity of Our Immigrant Communities

Friday, 04/23/2021 through Wednesday, 06/30/2021

In April 2021, National Poetry Month, African Voices and the Lewis Latimer House Museum (LLHM) collaborate on an exhibit: 

“My Soul Will Be A Star – The Resilience and Creativity of Our Immigrant Communities

To guide and comfort all the souls that are, And welcome others to their final home.”

This exhibit is a virtual/interactive/visual exploration in the strength and resilience of Brooklyn and Queens immigrant artists who are striving in their communities during this age of COVID-19, racial reckoning, and political unrest. The title comes from Latimer’s Poem xi, “My Soul will be a Star.” It will be on view 4/23-6/30/2021. The LLHM portion of the exhibition is co-curated by the South-East Queens Artists Alliance, and viewable as outdoor banners on the site of Lewis Latimer House Museum, as well as online.

Watch the recording of the virtual artists talk on 4/23 with the artists from both Brooklyn and Queens, introduced by African Voices and LLHM!

Lewis Howard Latimer [1848-1928] was an African American inventor, a son of fugitive slaves, self-taught poet and painter. His historic Victorian home in Flushing, Queens is now a New York City Landmark and museum. The museum’s mission is to call attention to Latimer and other People of Color’s contributions to American life, through multilingual tours, exhibitions, literature series, and STEAM education. Latimer’s life story is used as a point of departure from which to examine issues of race, class, immigration and contemporary events.

African Voices, is a non-profit arts organization which strives to transform the world one story at a time by creating a space for audiences to experience art, literature and film by artists of color. Founded in 1992, African Voices’ mission is carried out through public programs and the publication of a national literary magazine devoted to showcasing artists from the African Diaspora.

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About the artists & the featured works:

Full poem of "Praise the Power"

Sherese Francis‘s poem “Griot Sé/Mwen’s Beyonsense (National An/dem in Kwenglish)” will be printed on banner 1. Griot Sé/Mwen’s Beyonsense is an experimental anthem-poem (An/Dem) fusing together the different anthems from Sherese’s parent’s homelands (Barbados and Dominica) and America’s where the artist was born, picking out various words that stood out to her, breaking apart and fusing words to mimic the constant forming and eroding of land, which in turn mimics bodies moving in and out of a land, constantly reforming a nation.

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Two photographs taken in Forest Park, Queens.

Jacqueline Herranz-Brooks‘ work “All I See” contains a sound piece and photographs the artist took in Forest Park, Queens during the first 8-9 months of the COVID pandemic lock-down in NYC: she was photographing, recording, meditating while walking on trails in Forest Park that were Rockaway and Lenape territory until 1635 and thinking about the “Trail of Tears” in the 1830’s and other forms of disenfranchisement and cultural annihilation in the US. The sound piece is composed of audio recordings of poems the artist improvised during those walks in the park, with music composition by Riccardo Massari Spiritini.

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Visit the gallery at African Voices to view the other half of the exhibition with Keisha-Gaye Anderson’s artworks.

Keisha-Gaye Anderson is a multi-genre story teller. Her visual art is a conversation with the dreamscape, a walk through the unformed reality that holds the potential for all that is, and links us both as a collective and as discrete entities. She is inspired by patterns in nature, and water in particular. She enjoys exploring the geometry of lifeforms that appear throughout the totality of the natural word. Her process could be described as channeling or automatic writing. Keisha is more concerned with the cause of forms than the forms themselves. Through her work, she seeks to make visible the bridges between seen and unseen, and reveal the microcosms of our journey as one creation.

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This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the city council.