Museum Trippin’: Inside the Craft & Folk Art Museum

Craft and Folks Art Museum

A few weeks ago Le Kid and I headed to a homeschooling meet up at the Craft & Folk Art Museum. Although I’d seen it plenty of times on our way to LACMA or the Tar Pits, I never really felt the need to go. But because I’ve been looking to meet more homeschoolers (and because the exhibit we were seeing featured the work of a black artist by the name of Sonya Clark), we decided to venture out.

I’m glad I did. Not only is the Craft & Folk Art museum (CAFAM) larger than I expected (it looks pretty small from the outside, but is actually three stories tall), it was actually pretty cool. And their gift shop? DOPE!

When we first stepped into CAFAM, a large portrait of Madame CJ Walker made out of combs hung near the entrance.

Sonya Clark, Madame CJ Walker portrait

Although we got to tour the museum an hour before they opened and were there to see the Sonya Clark exhibit, we were able to check out some of the other installations as well. Currently, they are showcasing the art of Alaskan folk artists, and we saw some pretty cool paintings, photos, and sculptures. Some were even made of walrus belly!

I wasn’t familiar with Sonya Clark’s work before our visit, but I enjoyed checking out her exhibit which was all about hair.

Sonya Clark's work at the CAFAM

Here’s how the CAFAM described her exhibit:

Drawing from her African-American, Scottish, and Caribbean roots, Clark incorporates both the actual hair of African-American women and culturally associated hair-braiding techniques into textile form and sculptural objects. Her symbolic and innovative interpretation of materials and weaving processes explore the layered historical and intergenerational contexts of racial identity, disenfranchisement, and definitions of beauty within African-American cultures.

Le Kid got a kick out of Clark’s Abe Lincoln with an afro, and I was amazed at how hair could be molded into art (and even necklaces!).

Abe Lincoln with ‘fro!

If you get the opportunity to see Sonya Clark’s work in your city, or if you’re in Los Angeles and want to check out something besides the standard (and sometimes way too pretentious) art museums, be sure to stop by the Craft & Folk Art Museum! We will definitely be heading back.

The Side of Africa You NEVER See

Awesome photo of Nairobi via Afritorial.com

I belong to a slew of Facebook groups, a few of which are travel related. One group, Rare Customs, is planning a trip to Kenya early next year, and like a woman struck by a sudden and permanent case of wanderlust, I WANT TO GO.

Like…badly.

*long heavy sigh*

Truth is, I want to go everywhere. But after looking for something completely different, I ran across the blog Afritorial, and what did I see? A post about why folks need to go to Nairobi. Kismet? Maybe. But now I’ve got the itch and Africa is on my mind.

When it comes to the “dark continent” (insert a mean eye roll right there) you always hear about its wildlife, or see pictures of Western travelers going to shanty towns to be “down” with the people. But we rarely see Africa…ANY part of it…as a bustling, modern metropolis.

Cape Town, South Africa – via National Geographic

What we see is always war and starving babies and desolate landscapes and machetes. Or something.

Why is that?

Why is there often ONE story coming out of the whole of Africa as if it’s one big country (which, hello, it is not)?

Harare, Zimbabwe

If you want to see a “different” face of Africa you’ve got to do more than just Google “Africa”. Typically search engines will only point you toward stereotypical depictions of the continent.

But Africa is so much more than that, and I know this without even getting close to its shores.

Thank God for bloggers. And for sites like the cheeky Africa is a Country, or Afritorial, or Ms. Afropolitan, or AfriPop or any number of others that share the often overlooked parts of the Motherland.

And thank God for Africans who tell their own stories like only they can (peace to Danai Gurira whose commitment to telling African stories came through as soon as I met her).

I hope the wider world eventually catches up and is able to see what Africa is really all about. But in the meantime, I need to hustle up my coins and head to Kenya in January so I can see it for myself.

Want to put $5 on it? Donate here!

Yet Another Reason to Go to France, Pop Up Library Opens on the Beach!

French pop up beach library

Photo via PSFK.com

How dope is this? A pop up library….on the beach?! Yes please!

In an effort to encourage literacy, French architect Matali Crasset created a library right on the sand at La Romaniquette in Istres, France. The portable library is home to 350 books and three shaded seating areas to check out a book.

Photo via matalicrasset.com

C’est magnifique!

What’s your favorite book to read on the shore or by the pool?

h/t Galleycat