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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Presenting Beauford at Paris Lit Up

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney and the Wells International Foundation stand in solidarity with the families and friends of the victims of the Bastille Day massacre in Nice and with all whose lives have been touched by the atrocities of terrorism.

Paris Lit Up (PLU) is a literary and artistic community in Paris that runs workshops, publishes books, promotes projects, hosts writing residencies and organizes spoken word and other events. It operates out of the Culture Rapide cabaret in the Belleville quarter of the 20th arrondissement.

Culture Rapide - façade
© Discover Paris!

Several months ago, co-host and editor Emily Ruck Keene extended an invitation to me to be a featured speaker for PLU's Open Mic night. She wanted me to share my knowledge of black history, culture and contemporary life in Paris with PLU's audience and invited to select any topic that suited my fancy. Because of the tremendous reception that my presentation received at the Links National Assembly in Las Vegas, I thought it only natural to talk about Beauford and the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition.

We settled on July 14 (Bastille Day) as the date for my presentation.

The audience was delightfully eclectic that evening! Among those present were a software engineer, an art historian, and a "poet for hire."

I took the stage after watching several masterful recitations of poetry and prose, including a poem about Ferguson written by WIF intern and National Student Poet 2013-2014, Sojourner Ahébée. (Ahébée took a guided tour of Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color in February 2016 and requested to be considered for an internship as a result of what she saw and felt during that visit.)

Sojourner Ahébée recites a poem
© Discover Paris!

Part 1 of my talk focused on the story behind the founding of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney. The audience was captivated by the story of how I came to discover Beauford's gravesite and the work that Les Amis did to place a tombstone there. I explained how the non-profit's mission to organize educational and commemorative events in Beauford's honor and call the attention of the press to his artistic accomplishments led to the organization of the exhibition. I also spoke about study abroad and STEAM, both of which were important components of the exhibition.

Monique on stage
© Discover Paris!

Part 2 of my talk focused on the Augmented Reality project. Because of PLU's focus on literary and performing arts, I decided to devote a good part of this section to the spoken word videos that rapper and spoken word artist Mike Ladd contributed to the University of Arizona Augmented Reality project.

Mike Ladd being videoed for Augmented Reality project
© Discover Paris!

While I spoke, Keene downloaded the app to test it on several images in the exhibition catalog. She excitedly reported that she was able to access them all!

Following my presentation, more attendees took the stage to recite their poetry. Then, we left the cabaret and spilled into the street to watch the holiday fireworks display.

Bastille Day fireworks
© Discover Paris!

We ended the evening at around midnight. Both the poetry recitals and the fireworks were truly inspiring!

1 comment:

Teri said...

It is always so refreshing to see the awesome things you are doing in order to keep the name -Beauford Delaney- on our lips and in our hearts. Wish I had been there!