already on mars

already-on-mars2already on mars | acrylic and oil stick on canvas | 24 x 36 | $345

This painting was inspired by the movie, Hidden Figures, the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

I have been awakened to the stories of hope over time. Hope held out with such grace and tenacity generation after generation of not seeing change. It would be easier to give up, to put blinders on, to numb out, than daring to hope, climbing those rungs of that ladder only to fall all the way to the bottom again. But hope is also outrageously difficult to extinguish.

Al Harrison speaking to Katherine Coleman in the movie Hidden Figures:

“What I’m asking you…what I’m asking everyone one in that room, all my geniuses, is to look beyond the numbers. To look around them. Through them. For answers to questions we don’t even know to ask. Math that doesn’t yet exist. Because without it, we’re not going anywhere. We’re staying on the ground. We’re not flying into space…we’re not circling the earth. And we’re certainly not touching the moon. And in my mind…I’m already there.”

Hope is inspiration. Hope is rebellion. Seeing beyond the establishment, tradition, and behaviors that have been normalized, hungrily seeking out what is not yet certain because you know in your depths there is more. The spark of hope exists because in your mind, sometimes even before you’re willing to admit it to yourself, you’re already there.

In my painting, I created one vision of Mars. It feels a little upside down, seen from a distance, and yet we reach, we rise, because of the hope that we have.

Runnin’ by Pharrell Williams (from the movie soundtrack)

Summertime in Virginia was a oven
All the kids eating ice cream with their cousins
I was studyin’ while you was playing the dozens (dozens)
Don’t act like you was there when you wasn’t

Runnin’ from the man (man) runnin’ from the badge (badge)
Don’t act like you was there when you wasn’t
Runnin’ toward our plans (plans) and the judges hands (hands)
Don’t act like you was there when you wasn’t

I know they say you crawl for your own
But in my mind I already jog
If I stand still I cannot get far
They want the Moon, I’m on Mars

Sometime my mind dives deep
When I’m runnin’
I don’t want no free ride
I’m just sick and tired of runnin’
Some nights I cry
Cause I can see the day comin’
Together we fight
Oh, but no more runnin’

You and I are not different from each other
Shut our eyes, when we slumber I see numbers
Black and white, we’re computers, I am colored
Don’t act like you was there when you wasn’t

From runnin’ to exams (exams) to jobs for a man (man)
Don’t act like you was there when you wasn’t
In the law of the land (land) the women were often banned (banned)
Don’t act like you was there when you wasn’t

I know they say you crawl for your own
But in my mind I already jog
If I stand still I cannot get far
They want the Moon, I’m on Mars

Sometime my mind dives deep
When I’m runnin’
I don’t want no free ride
I’m just sick and tired of runnin’
Some nights I cry
Cause I can see the day comin’
Together we fight
Oh, but no more runnin’

I know they say you crawl for your own
But in my mind I already jog
If I stand still I cannot get far
They want the Moon, I’m on Mars

Sometime my mind dives deep
When I’m runnin’
I don’t want no free ride
I’m just sick and tired of runnin’
Some nights I cry
Cause I can see the day comin’
Together we fight
Oh, but no more runnin’

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