Final Concrete Dreams Zoom workshop

It was not easy to do an art and poetry workshop about our dreams and our future so soon after the horrendous mass killings of Asian women in Atlanta and just as the trial in the George Floyd murder is starting. But it was a great comfort to be together, healing, and making art even in the midst of this pandemic and all the racial injustice, misogyny, and rise of white supremacy. Part of my goal in these workshops is to build Black-Asian solidarity. In this final Zoom workshop for Concrete Dreams, the art and poetry were transformative. Maps Glover and I gave prompts for our participants to write poetry and concrete poetry that speaks to our dreams and our futures, either looking forward from today or looking back from ten years into the future. Here’s an excerpt from Rashika Johnson‘s poem tilted “Covid Ain’t stop Me (oh Art oh Fashion)” looks back from the future to today :

It’s 10 years later. Oh did you forget? We survived a tragedy. We couldn’t even breathe. Police brutality. Marching for BLM. Covid around. I couldn’t see no smiles….But it’s never too late to educate. I made it through. My art is my job, to do to express to the world the life I been through. Oh fashion helps show my peers my 2020 swag a mask full of art doing its part Cause Covid ain’t stop me Oh 2 the Art Oh 2 the Fashion That kept me going Cause Covid ain’t stop me. “

And here is the concrete poem:

Here are some poems by Mya Green, Sherri Gales, and Cynthia Connolly:

Special thanks to Mya Green for leading us in breathing and focusing on Abundance. We are going through so much trauma and stress right now with the trial of the murderer of George Floyd and the violence against Asian-American women. We needed this moment to build back and feel connected to each other and the Earth.

Thank you everyone! It has been a super powerful experience to be working and co-facilitating with Maps Glover over the last few months. This connection, this co-creation, this solidarity across communities, these moments of breathing together and expressing ourselves, this IS the public art. We are also building up to an upcoming temporary public art installation in May at the exterior of the DC Arts Center which will include concrete poetry on saris, in sculptures, and in projections by Robin Bell. In Concrete Dreams we explore themes of the pandemic and the intersection of gender, racial, and climate justice. Stay tuned everyone for our Earth Day Talk at Noon on April 22 and for outdoor workshops in late April or early May. This project is funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Public Art Building Communities Grant Program.

– Monica Jahan Bose, March 19, 2021

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