The various works with the late great artist Luther E. Vann, particularly ELEMENTAL, The Power of Illuminated Love, are fairly well-known. For its blending of visual fine art and poetry by two creatives, ELEMENTAL continues to stand as an exceptional tribute to creative energies and individuals which made the Harlem Renaissance such an exciting political and cultural arts phenomenon.
Some, however, might be surprised to learn Vann’s art also adorned the covers of several more of my books, including: the poetry collection The Bridge of Silver Wings; and, the novels Christmas When Music Almost Killed the World, and Songs from the Black Skylark zPed Music Player. In Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah, Vann’s aesthetic relationship with the artists Claude Monet and Kahlil Gibran is explored in story titled “Monet, Vann, and Gibran at the Telfair Museum of Art.” The following is a short excerpt from the story:
“When considering how the practices of slavery, philanthropy, and rebellion could all converge behind the exquisitely-rendered doors of the Telfair Museum, it becomes less difficult to imagine the different implications of it housing works by artists as diverse as France’s Claude Monet (Nov 14, 1840 – Dec 5 1926), America’s Luther E. Vann (Dec 2, 1937-April 6, 2016), and Lebanon’s Kahlil Gibran (Jan 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931)... There is a kind of unrecognized kinship between their painted meditations on the layered realities of human existence and the ever-unfolding wonders of time’s relationship with space, and light’s eternal dance with shadows and hues.” (from Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah)
The above reference to “practices of slavery” (hopefully obviously) should not be taken as allusion to those associated with today’s Telfair Museums of Art. It refers rather to past practices which made possible the foundation upon which the museum was founded. It is nevertheless painfully relevant to our modern times because of the current pandemic of human trafficking. That makes the work and function of the modern Telfair Museums, which often bridges cultural divides and celebrates human diversity, all the more essential.
100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance
About the Author:
A passionate reader, committed writer, artist, photographer, dedicated practitioner of mindfulness, hurricane survivor, maker of poems, believer in the value of compassion, historian, award-winner, journalist, adherent of beauty, and student of wisdom.