October 26, 2020 2 min read

This poem, Black Art, is about the black experience and the desire to see it expressed in art.  Art in the style of Pablo Picasso, a Spanish painter, and some of his works are referenced as subjects for potential pieces of African American Art. Just as important, and maybe more so, is art in the style of Jacob Lawrence and others.

 Black Art

Paint me a picture that tells my story,
One of pain and survival and a people’s lost glory;
Use paint or marble or paper and pen.
Please show the world why we fear for our men.
 
Paint me a picture that shouts dignity,
One of a people living and working and yearning to be free;
Use a drum and the sounds of our lost motherland.
Please capture the justice that our hurting hearts demand.
 
Paint me a picture of laughter and joy,
One of children playing—a little black girl and a little black boy,
Use a beat or a drum or a dance or a song.
Please explain how injustice, racism, bigotry, and hatred are wrong.
 
Paint me a Picasso in beautiful black art,
One of a black Weeping Woman or a Self Portrait to start;
Use images of our heroes—the living and the lost.
Please make plain what ignorance, denial, and apathy cost.
 
Paint me picture of A Girl Before A Mirror—beautiful and black,
One of A Tragedy overcome by using what we have in the face of lack;
Use the strength and faith of praying black mothers.
Please make clear that we must love them, self, and one another.
 
Paint me African American Art--Black Art with a story that tells,
One of a people who came through water, trials and hidden trails;
Use a picture of A Woman Ironing or A Girl With A Dove.
Please show our true history, our struggle, and our capacity to love.
 
Paint me a Jacob Lawerence--beautiful black art,
One of The Swearing In, not of Carter, but of Obama for a start;
Use The Seamstress, The Shoemaker, our ingenuity lost.
Please tell the real story of what marginalization for all really cost.
 
Paint me a picture, a Harriett Tubman series—The Struggle uniquely black,
One of the Dreams of a proud, beautiful, talented people moving past the lack;
Use the picture of Children at Play and loving mothers.
Please make them see that we want life not Tombstones for one another.
 
Paint me African American Art--Black Art with a story that tells,
One of a people beaten, not broken, but heroes blazing trails;
Use a picture of The Library, and the mourning dove.
Please open their eyes to our true worth to the country that we love.
Sherrial Murray
Sherrial Murray


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