Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Charity" has two streets to make it into an Art Invitational

This piece is "Charity" by Leslie Samson-Tabakin. I saw it this morning at a group show at the East Hawaii Cultural Center in Hilo, where I am a visiting artist this week. I was invited by the Art Department at the University of Hawaii - Hilo to teach the creative model of Poetry Scores, which translates poetry into other media, and to research a future project with the work of Hawaiian poet Wayne Kaumualii Westlake.

I went to the art show this morning scouting for visual artists who can help us translate Westlake's poetry into visual art. This piece of art leaped out at me in particular. We will be scoring Westlake's poetic sequence Down on the Sidewalk in Waikiki, which is, among other things, an anti-tourist howl of native rage. This piece says all that to me.

"Charity" might have a more immediate Poetry Scores application. Coming up next month we have an Art Invitational to Wole Soyinka's poem Ever-Ready Bank Accounts, which has the line "Charity may be a one-way street." In a Poetry Scores Art Invitational, the piece must be titled after a verbatim quote from the poem being scored, so "Charity" could go right into that show without even changing the title.

I should have a chance to discuss these projects with the artist tomorrow, since my host Michael Marshall is driving me up to the volcano and we had plans to eat at the cafe where Leslie happens to work. It's been going just like that for us on this journey, as you'll see if you keep reading ...

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