Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bono is African

Walking through a part of West Oakland near the BART station that I just learned is called The Bottoms, I found a great place on Pine Street. It’s called the Black Dot café, which is part of a larger group called the Black Dot Artist’s Collective.

The Black Dot is a brand new café, so new there’s no food yet, although they do serve tea and coffee. There’s art on the walls, and a larger studio/gallery space upstairs. One of the artists who shows in the space happened to be there, and he gave me a gallery tour.

I confess that I don’t remember his name. He told me, but it was hard for me to pronounce and I lost it on the way home. I liked his art, though. He often includes the outline of the continent of Africa in his work. Sometimes he makes the shape of Africa out of repeated smaller images, like soccer balls in a piece dedicated to Pele, or drums in a work inspired by a Congolese drummer.

One other piece that I liked contained the phrase “Bono is African.” Bono in this case refers to the lead singer of U2, who is, of course, Irish, but because he has done so much work for African debt relief and AIDS funding, the artist feels that in his (Bono’s) heart, he must be African.

I love the idea that someone could become an honorary citizen of a whole continent. I’m not expecting it to happen to me, but it’s something to aspire to.

No comments: