Travel Diary: Copacabana Cool

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It had been a while since I made a trip to somewhere other than home (Trinidad & Tobago). Hence the acute case of wanderlust with which I had recently been afflicted.  I decided to get on a plane to somewhere even if it would only be for a couple days. I chose a place I hadn't been to before and whose African heritage  I had long admired: Brazil.  I have long dreamed of visiting Salvador de Bahia, the heart of AfroBrazilian culture but with limited time on this trip, I knew I would have to wait  a bit longer to visit that fabled city.

I headed to  Rio de Janeiro. Without a word of Portuguese under my belt, navigating this metropolis wasn't easy. Fortunately though, Cariocas (as citizens of Rio are called) are kind, hospitable and helpful. They patiently listened to my clumsy attempts at their language and assisted me in having the best possible experience in their city. Also, during my first day I met a cool French guy who was glad to be my companion and translator. Coincidentally, he was born exactly one day before me. (Go figure that a Sagittarian would quit his job and go travelling around the world!)
Anyway, my mini escape to Rio was just what I needed. Granted, I didn't  swim in the sea (the water was way too cold by my  Caribbean standards!) Also, I didn't explore nearly as much as the AfroBrazilian culture as I would have preferred. Nevertheless, my journey to Rio still ended up being enjoyable, especially considering that I was there for less than 48 hours! I'm already excited about returning. 

Dress: Vintage
Bag: Thrifted
Bangles:Some Indian and some made in Atlanta
Ring: made in Atlanta

The Anthropologist

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Anthropologie is one of those stores I enjoy visiting for aesthetic stimulation. I walk through its doors excited to see the latest visual merchandising. The display of antique furnishings and global wares elicits a feeling of being in some cool bohemian place. A well curated corner may bring to mind a writer's eccentric study or a charming posada in Mexico. Sometimes the romantic setting persuades me to purchase an accoutrement or two. Usually though, my finds are less tangible but arguably, more valuable, seeds of inspiration.

Top: Thrifted
Shoes: JCrew
Earrings: Beauty supply store
Rings: Coyote Trading

Photo Credit: Adinah Morgan

Full of Flare

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Finally found some high waisted, flared jeans that are long enough for me and also hug my curves. Lol. I'm beyond excited!  I christened them with a plain white tee, which I cut myself to achieve a slightly cropped effect. I wore heels for a lunch date but afterwards quickly swapped for these barely-there sandals. My beloved Banjara clutch provided the requisite colour. I didn't take many photos of the jeans themselves though so you can't really see the high waist . Hopefully, you can see a bit of the flare.

T-shirt: Moscino from Target
Jeans: Vintage, Rag-o-Rama
Sandals: Banana Republic
Necklace: Indian, Bombay Gal 
Clutch: Ebay or Etsy (don't remember)
Earrings: a gift from a stranger 
Bangles: Indian, thrifted
Rings: and Sole to Sole & Dillards 

La Vida Naranja

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Can we talk about the happiness that is this orange dress! It's such a delicious colour. Makes me think of various tropical fruit...pawpaws and mangoes for example. In addition to the exuberant hue, I like how it fits, like it was specifically made for me. This is the second traditional Mexican dress that I've owned. The other is short, cream and embroidered with a multicoloured floral design. I would share photos of that one with you but it's not in the best of shape. Suffice it to say, I wore the heck out of it. You can't blame me. There's something special about clothing that's not just pretty but also reflects a people's rich that has history. Another reason why I wish to explore Mexico further. I might even be lucky to find more of these beauties! 

Dress: Vintage
Bag: Purchased in Morocco
Necklaces: Moroccan & Indian
Ring: Indian & Tuareg
Earrings: Purchased @ a beauty supply store in NY

Photo Credit : Jax Achieng

Gordon Parks' A Segregation Story

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I  managed to make it to the Gordon Parks Exhibition at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art before it closes at the end of this month. It was a beautiful night to be out so my sis Betiel and I took advantage of the opportunity to catch up. I am ever thankful that my friends enjoy art and culture as much as I do. Even though I value experiencing such things by muself, it’s special to have those with whom you could share those memorable moments. Anyway, back to the exhibit, the main reason for our visit… 

“In 1956, Life magazine published twenty-six color photographs taken by staff photographer Gordon Parks. The photo essay, titled The Restraints: Open and Hidden, exposed Americans to the effects of racial segregation. Parks focused on the everyday activities of the related Thornton, Causey, and Tanner families in and near Mobile, Alabama, capturing their everyday struggles to overcome discrimination.
 Parks's photo essay served as crucial documentation of the Jim Crow South and acted as a national platform for challenging racial inequality. However, rather than focusing on the demonstrations, boycotts, and brutality that characterized the battle for racial justice, Parks emphasized the prosaic details of one family's life. In particular, his ability to elicit empathy through an emphasis on intimacy and shared human experience made the photographs especially poignant.
 The serene images provided an exceptional account of a nationwide struggle, yet one that remained invisible to many. Parks strove to undo racial stereotypes by providing a positive, complex account of real people. By contrasting the normal activities of daily life – preparing taxes, doing laundry, cooking dinners, cutting timber – with persistent evidence of social inequality, he exposed the damaging effects of racial and economic subjugation on the family's pride and opportunity.
 Although the pictures associated with Parks’s work for the segregation story were believed lost for several decades, The Gordon Parks Foundation recently uncovered more than two hundred transparencies that comprise the full series. This exhibition brings together more than forty of those images, many on view for the first time. Together, they give a sense of the complexity and breadth of Parks's vision and also provide a deeper look into the experience of segregation in the South.” 
~ Sourced from the High Museum’s Website. 

Beneath one of the photographs in the collection, I noticed a quote by one of the persons captured by Mr. Parks.  I can't state verbatim what the lady said but here's the gist. She asserted that only through Integration could African Americans come to be treated justly.  Do you believe this has come to pass? Do you believe that the end of Segregation has helped African Americans receive more justice in this society? Surely, it's a salient question in 2015

In addition to Gordon Parks' iconic photographs, the works of other artists including Karen Walker are also on display. Ms. Walker is a contemporary artist best known for her black cut-out silhouettes, which convey scenes related to slavery in the Antebellum South and address issues surrounding gender, sex and power. The stark depictions force viewers to confront a chapter in U.S. history that they may otherwise be unwilling to face. Ms. Walker herself has stated that for a while she hesitated to delve into the subject of American slavery out of concern that it would be seen as cliche'. Nonetheless, as an African American woman who has been exposed to and in some ways, experienced the bitter fruit of slavery, she decided to analyse American dynamics of power that stem from this period. Despite and because of people's discomfort with discussing the subject matter, Karen Walker made it a prominent part of her work. Just as Gordon Parks',Ms. Walker's collection is particularly salient today. Maybe if we can engage in discourse about segregation and slavery, we can begin to truly heal certain wounds. Art is a great place from which to start. 

Black Is It.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Shocking news! I wore black and it's not even winter! My long held belief that black doesn't look good on me may be a thing of the past. Well, let me not make such a sweeping declaration.Let me simply say that I have found the solution to wearing black without looking like a stick figure. It comes down to the cut or the  proportions of the piece(s). Loose works better but I can also wear one item that's close fitting provided at least  one of the other pieces in the outfit falls away from my body. This long linen shift does justice to my straight, slender frame without making me disappear. The dress's cut combined with it being made from linen gives an almost ascetic effect. That's not to say I did minimalist. Let's not get too ambitious!

Dress: Thrifted
Bag:Vintage Coach, Thrifted
Sandals:Banana Republic
Bangles: From India to Mali to Atlanta
Hoops: Local ghetto girl store

Photo Credit: Aqueldon Burns