June 5, 2020

Do Black Lives Matter TO YOU?

Thom Cross, 76

Art came to me from my living and working in theatre in Jamaica. Art in Jamaica, I was taught, is a deeply felt spiritual creative almost ritualized process. It is also a historical and sociological derived art response of resistance to the colonial entrapment combining class, cultural and artistic impulses. This dialectic of the materialist underpinning of an essentially African derived spirituality helped shape me as an artist. The learning process emphasised framing the aesthetic using indigenous folk forms and African retentions. Indeed I found the folk-art forms marks of resistance to enslavement and colonial oppression. At the same time (the dialectic again) the Jamaican artistic expression celebrated a jazz-art of colour, line and magic reality. This I recognised not as Jazz art but rather JAH’S ART derived from the rooted spirituality of Rastafari-the essence of an essentially African dominant presence in much of Caribbean creative consciousness. As a young teacher of theatre from Kirkcaldy I became a new man, seeing with new eyes and feeling making new marks. Black lives matter fundamentally to me. For I also found love: a love that is still with me 40 years later.

Black Lives Matter to ME, 2020AcrylicVarious