iceland · spatial politics

time for hellos and goodbyes (for now)

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Iceland’s sunset last night. In the foreground, scraps of woven fabric by fellow artist Karin Hedberg of Sweden.

Preparing to leave Iceland in a few days. Today, my fellow artists and friends at Textilsetur had lunch together. I was initially tired as I stayed up late to watch this beautiful sunset. And then I realized I was also tired because I was dehydrated. But I am also energized by the experiences had here.

I am interested, as earlier mentioned, in spatial politics. In the past, I have paid close attention to how historical actors, or people who are no longer with us, moved through space. I have been especially attentive to whether they gain or lose power. These people include my ancestors who moved to South Florida from the Deep South or the Bahamas in the early and mid-twentieth century. These folks also include antebellum women of color in the United States.

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My late grandmother Melcina Andrews. We never met because she suffered a stroke when my father was just an arm baby. She was a very smart young woman. What might she have done in life had she lived?

I have thought a lot here about observation. Not just observing how I am observed, but observing myself and how I feel when I move through space. I am most interested in the latter. This pursuit delves into perspective and autobiography, things that interest me. This dynamic is informed by my earlier research and a growing  body of writings on space and power.

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Will miss the color purple this time of year in Iceland (“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” – Alice Walker)

I leave here stronger, I think. I can see how we are often more alike than different even with structural hurdles that are real and painful. How we have similar fears and hopes. That sounds very kumbaya  and almost insufficient in our troubled day. I see the headlines. But that’s where I am.

I leave here also – again – tired, knowing it’s always about the journey and not the destination (yet another kumbayaism). At best, I must ask myself daily, sometimes by the minute, “How can I make this world a better place?” Through my research, writing, art and just being a citizen of planet Earth? Is that enough? Again, I could say more, but I’ll leave it there.

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I will miss Iceland’s sunset – this time of year at any rate. Ha!

In my  dorm room here in this former women’s school, I have thought a lot about aging bodies. My maternal grandmother Lillie Mae Earvin. My mother Estella Earvin Andrews Myers. I hold on to memories of what was and what could have been.

In this way, I am thinking of my father’s mother Melcina Andrews who died when he was just a baby. She was the valedictorian of her class at Carver High in the Coconut Grove section of Miami. On her shoulders, and their shoulders, I stand. Because of the paths laid by so many, I can travel to a place where it’s day more than it is night this time of the year. A place where there are so few people who look like me. And that is not the most critical thing all the time either. More to come. For now, blessed.

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