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HOYES ART LIFE BLOG

SWAN BLOG


Museum celebrates Black history

By Kenny Klein
The Desert Sun
February 14th, 2000


PALM SPRINGS, CA -- Using rags drenched in ink to create beautiful paintings and playing steel drums from Trinidad were two of the ways members of the black community chose to celebrate their heritage Sunday.

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Those were among several activities and displays that about 500 people from throughout the Coachella Valley enjoyed during the Sunday event at Palm Springs Desert Museum.

The Palm Springs celebration comes from deep roots. Black History Month grew out of Negro History Week, which was launched by Carter G. Woodson in the 1920s. By 1976, February signaled a period of recognizing black progress and achievement.

Like celebrations around the country, this year’s celebration is a way to keep black culture and traditions alive.

Alive: "Just being here makes me feel alive because 50 years ago, this would have never happened,’’ said John Tamel, 52, of Palm Desert. "I mean, there use to be marches and protests, but today there is peace and a fine showing of talent for everybody to enjoy. This is for all colors.’’

Through traditional African clothing, Ola Roberts helped visitors understood they were looking at history and culture.

"I’m wearing this so young people can see why it’s important to keep history alive,’’ said Roberts, of Palm Springs.

And when it came to painting, Desert Hot Springs resident Bernard Stanley Hoyes was ready with his rag technique.

The style involves Hoyes soaking a net in ink, casting it on paper and then going back with a brush and filling in the lines to make an artistic statement.

Symbols: "The net is a symbol that means being held back,’’ Hoyes said. "The figures are about poverty and struggle. In one piece, titled 'Rags,’ the woman found dignity in rags. It’s my way of expressing an uphill struggle.’’

With steel drums, capable of producing music from the classics to reggae, musician Kenny Williams played his heart away.

"This is said to be the only 20th century instrument ... that was developed after World War II,’’ said Williams, of Long Beach.

For many members of the crowd, it was tough to decide on a favorite act or display.

"The African clothing, the music and the artwork were all wonderful,’’ said Tim Johnson, of North Palm Springs.
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