I rarely do the second saturday art walk much anymore, cause I feel it was hijacked from the original artists that lived in my part of the city after the storm. I was asked ONCE previously to show, when the Andy Warhol Society came to town. Had I known then what I know now… Many of my dear friends started SCAD. st claude arts district, only to have it hijacked by people who weren’t here after katrina, and certainly didn’t come up with the name, nor the original talent to get folks over here to see what the artists here were doing.
It was hijacked much like the Andy Warhol Society was hijacked to a dinner party up the street that NO one here could afford. A planning and scheming moment where folks who claim they knew MORE about New Orleans than those who live here … sat about and figured out how to hijack a city for “arts” sake. Cause nobody here was an artist. So Prospect ONE could come here and tell our story. Cause Nobody here could. So the lady up the street could buy a house, turn it into a gallery, sell it off, and leave the country with the grant money that was intended to move New Orleans forward, Say it ain’t so.. SAY IT. http://thelensnola.org/2011/07/06/kirsha-kaechele-st-roch-prospect-1/
My city is changing very quickly. just a few short years ago in the midst of rubble, and no places to live I watched people who weren’t neighbors, become friends. It was a humbling experience to go through a hurricane. its an even darker thing to go thru gentrification. I sometimes pray for a hurricane to make them go back to where they came from, I am no fan of the gentrification when it comes from those who buy, only to resell…. for profit and gain and without any thought to the damage they are doing. Like Kirsha Kaechele who pretty much brought her blend of hipster drama, and “art” to my hood, along with a bunch of people who think they saved us. The buildings that were part of all this. fell into decay, and taxes were never paid, she fled the country. We are left picking up the pieces of the blight SHE left behind. That blight is no longer visible, but heard on my street daily, when I hear people talk about how much better st roch would be if……..
(if you thought it was so great? why did you move here. it ain’t broke, so why you tryin to fix it. )
So in all this mess, and all the things I have been through and seen regarding artists and my hood, I have long felt that I was ignored. GLADLY ignored by these folks who think they know it all, and know how to fix it, and know how to tell our story, even though they don’t live here. My time would come, and my time has been spent well. My art isn’t always something I paint. Sometimes its something I create as an extension of my art. www.skinznbonez.com
So it was with great joy when a LOCAL artist and photographer asked me to participate in this weekends art walk. I saw the list of artists who were hand picked and all exemplify the New Orleans that should be in these galleries. People who LIVE here and participate in the daily grind. Pat Jolly, I’d like to thank you for inviting me, and I am looking forward to tomorrow.
I am pleased to be asked to join in on a group show regarding the wetlands. So I chose a controversial piece that pretty much says it all. It was something I painted in anger, a brown pelican drenched in oil, and dying on a beach. A Giant X on his chest like the houses in New Orleans after Katrina when the National Guard went searching for survivors. This bird with an X, dated 4/20 (earth day) gulf of mexico, and MURDER. I cannot wait for those with their noses in the air to GASP when they see it. The painting hurts to look at, with the terror in the birds eyes, and the realization that its dying…
MUCH like I feel sometimes when I drive round the city, seeing development in places that were thriving neighborhoods, yet held back by our own city government. Where are the grocery stores? I mean really? Broken Dreams, Broken Promises… thats whats really going on here. Sell outs to Developers who really only care about their wallets, and not the quality of life that a neighborhood has. I look at Holy Cross, now UNholy cross as Perez architect comes in… with his grandiose ideas and his friends on twitter talking about how he is saving us… Saving us from what?
Where are the grocery stores that were promised? I have lived on the other side of the canal. What about the traffic and the parking? What about views? What about those who bought into that neighborhood, and put their hard vision and work into a home, only to see property values skyrocket and fixed income folks run out. I would be very angry if I bought a house, and suddenly some gigantic apartment building was in my backyard, and my peace and quiet ruined by someone with a telescope, watching my every move. What about the fact that the majority in that neighborhood didn’t want that… is this what we wanted?
so the gentrification now moves from st roch to holy cross…..
It takes lots of gaul to say that your saving us… I guess its cause those of us who care, and those of us who came back after katrina and made it special, I guess WE don’t count. Afterall, the rich seem to swell towards the hoods where artists and gays live, then buy into it, and force them out. I have seen it happen time and time again, in many other cities I have lived in. Hoods I lived in. The hood I live in right now is RIFE with this rich elite buying up property, renting to the drug dealers that we chased out, only to resell at four to five times the cost of what they originally spent. Tell me how that is fixing New Orleans. Tell Me. JOBS would really help, higher wages would really help, affordable living helps and affordable groceries feed us. BUT I AM NOT seeing these things.
FINALLY I am asked to join in the second saturday art walk as an artist in my own neighborhood. THAT is a silver lining for me. Its an accomplishment, and an opportunity to mix and blend with my neighbors, and smile. It gives me some hope that maybe these know it all folks finally realize that maybe they really should be looking at the culture, before its gone. Give it a chance, isn’t that what brought you here?
Cause that painting I have at KEBAB? pretty much says it all. man made disasters kill the thriving and living things that were doing just fine before y’all decided to “fix what ain’t broke”
I hope your hearing me Kirsha Kaechele