When I was younger I wasn’t really into visual art in general. And I didn’t realize it until I was older that my great-grandmother, who was half black and half Native American, was a visual artist. She painted and made quilts and was very talented. She was my only experience of a black visual artist growing up and when I was little I didn’t even realize that what she was doing was actual art. Then I moved to Nashville as a young adult and it opened up a whole world of visual artists of all races. But I was absolutely drawn to black art and black artists.
In this work, there is a slave with chains on his wrists, but the chains are broken. That stood out to me the most. And you can see some of the slaves still look sort of unsure of the reality of their freedom, but some look empowered. And there’s a technique that is used in this painting as well as his other paintings, where he will paint circles and the way that he does the lighting where the circles are is interesting. The lighting changes on the people depending on where parts of the circles hit. It’s kind of hard for me to explain but if you see his paintings you’ll understand what I mean.
It’s difficult to find a perfect synonym, because “blown away” can be used for either a positive or negative reaction. “Overwhelmed” can be used for either, but it has a tendency to be taken negatively. “Overcome” or “amazed” are neutral also in terms of positive/negative, but to me they seem somewhat weaker than “blown away”. “Bowled over” is a pretty good match, but it may seem a bit outdated. “Awe-struck” may come closest, particularly if we take “blown away” as a positive term. When the Earth’s core cools down, and this spinning slows down, then stops, our magnetosphere would falter and we would lose most of our atmosphere, as it is believed happened to Mars some 3.5 billion years ago… but, “fortunately”, that would take billions more years, and the Sun will have expanded into a red supergiant, having boiled away Earth’s oceans and baked all life on our planet long, long before that will happen.
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