Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Optimist by Tim Okamura

There has been a great deal of sensitivity to the condition of African Americans shown in some Chelsea galleries recently.  There is, for instance, an amazing show at Jack Shainman Gallery called: Question Bridge: Black Males.

At Lyons Wier I saw a painting by Tim Okamura that I thought was worth passing along.  He calls it: The Optimist.

We see an African American woman who is apparently surrounded by poverty and violence but who has attained to a degree of tranquility despite her immediate surroundings. Indeed, we even see a type of graffiti halo hovering over her head.

It's a very optimistic painting - I am not even sure this level of serenity is possible and, at first, due to the obvious halo, I thought that the artist was, perhaps, being ironic. 

Being an optimist myself, however, I tend to think the artist was being more sincere than ironic and I appreciated the positive and hopeful belief that even in situations of harsh adversity we can believe in something better and perhaps even reach a state of grace or serenity.

So here's an image of a person who was not corrupted by her surroundings and we are challenged to think about the inner means and struggle she engaged in to reach this state of grace.

Thank you to Giulia A. for taking this photo for me.

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