Redwing Black Birds & Shooting Stars

Passed down from Slavery the Blackbird and Crow are terms often used when describing Black people. “Gotta watch that ol’Crow he’ll steal you blind”. These bird symbols also employed in fairly tales and cartoons are imbued with the Black stereotype behaviors. They dance and sing on the telephone wires. They are aggressive. They steal food and outwit their pursuers. They are funny, tragic and often feared as omens.

New Years 2010 world headlines reported the mysterious death of Black Birds and Crows. Neighborhoods in many Southern states and around the world neighborhoods woke to yards covered with hundreds of dead Black Birds. They dropped like rain from the sky and caused fear and much speculation. Some say it was the New Year’s explosions that stunned them other blame it on environmental pollution. No solutions offered just reasons.

In this series I link the sudden death and raining of Black bird bodies from the sky to that of the ever-mounting violent deaths of young Black boys. Both phenomena are rife with speculation and a dearth of solution.

–Barbara Earl Thomas — 2013

The Fall
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/2014

Ignite
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/14

Incinerate
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/2014

Illuminated Stories I
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/2014

Heavenly Bodies
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/14

Illuminated Stories II
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/2014

Tumble
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/2014

Tagged
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/2014

Collide
Egg tempera, 30 x 42 inches, 2013/2014