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The Harmony of Art and Social Awareness

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Adventures in Art and Social Awareness at the Museum ofGraffiti Art in Wynwood, Miami Art Week 2021

Resolutely, the Museum of Graffiti in Wynwood, is a great adventure in art, history, and social awareness. As a visitor, it was more than what I expected. I’ve visited countless museums during Art Miami Week in the past, but never got this much soul food in one place.

In the past few years I've been writing content for health insurance, moving companies, etc., they are the bread and butter of my life right now and I am grateful for living the work-from-home lifestyle, but never have I ever stopped working on my screenplays, books, and films.

It's a big deal for me to attend an event such as the screening of REEFA, a film that harmonizes art and the call for social justice. And what better way to do that than at roots of art—graffiti.

I not only picked up an aerobics’ high learning to breakdance a step or two instantly oxygenating my decaying brain, but ready to take on the social impact of art history, I also pulled a newly released movie in the social justice spectrum.

Films like REEFA (2021) outstandingly reveal how incredibly fragile life is. One moment the creative mind of a child at 18 can be at the onset of a promising future, the next minute his greatness begins at death, but in such an unacceptable way, it hurt to watch and even more to write about it.

REEFA, the soul that died for art, will live forever in our hearts every time we see graffiti art. He has entered the ether and become all pervasive. His art has been preserved and a special REEFA space should and must be allocated for his gift of imagination in this graffiti art museum, the first of its kind in the world.

If you're a writer, a wannabe filmmaker like me, or in any creative place at all, REEFA will spur your imaginative sap. It will make you want to live for art and let art live.

“What is art and why is graffiti an art?” asked Ignorantus. “Art is… communication in a wide scope, encompassing and suggestive, expressing feeling, opinions, identities. Literature, painting, music, dance. The visual, kinesthetic, tactile, sound-bites that arise in our consciousness,” responded the muse.

I felt so ashamed of the outcome of events! Tears just rolled down my cheeks. To lose any kid to police brutality over graffiti art on a wall is unacceptable of humanity. Life is more precious than property. Children are more precious than life. Just imagine the pain of losing your own child to police brutality. But I believe in justice and karma will play out. For every action there is a reaction.

Today, at 62, a former teacher doing what I love, to write and to dream, I can relate to the beginnings of modern Graffiti art in the 70s. That was my decade to be young and reckless. It was always fun and games. It still is for me through my art. That was the decade I started to write.

It hurts to live in a world where such cruelty towards youth and artistic expression can be considered a casualty. And worse knowing that those in whose hands we place the honor of taking care of our sons and daughters in the public arena, the police, are the ones that deface God. Like Sojourner Truth, who shouted out in grief when Frederick Douglas said there would be blood, “Douglass, is God dead?” I too ask the same, a two centuries later.

REEFA’s unacceptable and obtuse death proves one thing: Graffiti-Art nonetheless prevails. This ancient form of expression captured in caves and catacombs throughout the ages suffices to record mankind and our protest of iniquity in time.

The film, REEFA, received good if not great reviews. While it wasn’t released to Box Office, the Tomatometer gave it 89% based on 9 critics’ reviews. From: “a timely film” to “who gets to say what is art?” to “well-made” but “conventional” and “trite,” I agree with the last critic’s review most: “this is a movie to be watched.” So, get on over to IMDB after you watch it and give it an 8, that’s what I did, not just to support women in film, help stop police brutality, and encourage the social awareness of art as a means of identifying the humanity of our times, but also because, as I mentioned earlier on, I don’t think anyone could portray this tragedy better than director Jessica Kavana.

It may feel hallmark at times, you may want to see more of REEFA’s art, and less of his girlfriend, but alas, the film takes us where it must, and in doing so, we cringe and squirm. In spite of the micro budget and novice actors on set, I’d say this is a movie that will go down in history along with and for REEFA.

Finally, now there is a museum of graffiti art where life can be ‘fun and games’ again at least for a while. Being able to enjoy the art form of graffiti through so many of our senses, including other forms of art, makes this museum unique and excellent.

I am spiderwoman TAT, and this is my web.

Graffiti is art, expression, identification, history, social tool
Musrum of Graffiti - Wynwood, Miami Art Week 2021


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