Idorenyin “Idee” Umana
“Idee” Umana is a bourgeoning artist from Nigeria, born in1995 and raised in the suburbs of Apapa, Lagos. He holds a bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of Uyo, Nigeria. From drawing as a child, he developed a niche in painting while growing up and also using various mediums to explore his thoughts and environment. His interests are based on his immediate African society and a means of giving hope of a better life to those who have lost theirs and a search for utopia. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions around Nigeria and his commissioned paintings are found within and abroad.
“With each brush stroke, the artist expresses himself.” These words are born out of the concepts and basic needs of art in our African society. Post-Modernism being a recent paradigm in the art praxis since the1950’s, has triggered unconventional stylistic approaches in his paintings and Art generally, in which African Contemporary Art may be appreciated in its independent appearance. The muse of the artist relies deeply on the rich traditional exploits of the Nigerian environment and Africa. Presently, he’s a full time studio artist exploring materials, creating new approaches. In his words, “Painting brings me peace and offers me a place to meditate on the beauty in the world and my highest goal is to convey peace to the viewers, offering a moment of pause and a feeling of deep belonging”.
Facebook @Idee Umana Twitter & Instagram @idorynin umana
I am Nicholas Sironka, (I go by Sironka) a Maasai batik artist, with a God given talent. I was born and raised in Kenya, a country in East Africa. We have 42 different tribes in Kenya. Each tribe speaks a distinctively different language from the other. There is however a national language that helps all these tribes communicate with each other – Kiswahili. (Remember ‘Hakuna matte” in the movie Lion King?). I am Maasai, a small pastoralist tribe living mostly in the southern plains of Kenya known as the Rift Valley.
In the year 2000, I was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence Award from the U. S. Government to com teach batik art and Maasai culture at Whitworth University in Spokane Washington.
Ever since childhood I was always fascinated by my Maasai culture, a culture that was very much misinterpreted and misunderstood. It is then that I made it my life’s ambition to find a way to tell the truth about my people and to do so with dignity and truth. With my God given talent I determined that batik was the medium I would use to make good of this quest.
Today I sell my original art and enjoy teaching batik art classes and also continue to hold lectures on the Maasai culture whenever I am invited to do so.
My passion to speak on the facets of my culture portrayed in my pieces has many times been impactful emotionally for those buying my art or simply coming and listening to my explanations of deeper meaning for the paintings. Many asked if I was a counselor, and after much thought, I decided to go to school. I am happy to say that today I hold a degree as a certified substance abuse counselor!
My philosophy: “If I can use my talents to touch another life, and make it better, then I will be fulfilling the purpose for which God put me on this Earth!”
Our African Ancestor’s sacrifices will matter!
Only when we have economic and political power!
Life in Slavery
Charles Ball was born as a slave in the same county around 1781. He was about four years old, when his owner died. To settle the debts, his mother, several brothers and sisters and he himself were sold to different buyers. His first childhood memory recorded in the book is his being brutally separated from his mother by her buyer: “Young as I was, the horrors of that day sank deeply into my heart, and even at this time, though half a century has elapsed, the terrors of the scene return with painful vividness upon my memory.”
By way of inheritance, sale and even as a result of a lawsuit, he is passed on to various slaveholders. From January 1, 1798 to January 1, 1800 he is hired out to serve as a cook on the frigate USS Congress. In 1800, he marries Judah. In 1805, when his eldest son is 4 years old, he is sold to a South Carolinian cotton planter, thus separated from his wife and children who had to remain in Maryland.
In September 1806, he is given as a present to the newly wedded daughter of his owner and has to relocate to Georgia to a new plantation. Shortly afterwards, after the sudden death of the new husband, the new plantation, together with the slaves, including him, is rent out to yet another slaveholder, with whom he builds up a relationship of mutual trust. He becomes the headman on the new plantation, but suffers from the hatred of his master’s wife. In 1809, when his dying master is already too weak to interfere, he is cruelly whipped by that woman and her brother. After that, he plans his escape, which he puts into practice after his master’s death. Travelling by night to avoid the patrols, using the stars and his obviously excellent memory for orientation, suffering terribly from hunger and cold, not daring to speak to anybody, he returns to his wife and children in early 1810.
War of 1812 Chesapeake Flotilla service
Charles Ball also served in the U.S. Navy during the War of 1812. In 1813, Ball had enlisted in Commodore Joshua Barney‘s Chesapeake Bay Flotilla and fought at the Battle of Bladensburg on August 24, 1814. An excerpt from his account of the battle, which was a resounding defeat for the Americans:
“I stood at my gun, until the Commodore was shot down, when he ordered us to retreat, as I was told by the officer who commanded our gun. If the militia regiments, that lay upon our right and left, could have been brought to charge the British, in close fight, as they crossed the bridge, we should have killed or taken the whole of them in a short time; but the militia ran like sheep chased by dogs.”
According to Ball’s autobiography, his grandfather was a man from a noble African family who was enslaved and brought to Calvert County, Maryland around 1730.
The 1837 edition dedicates three pages (Pages 22–24) to the description of his religion as the old man explained it to his young grandson. This description has some similarities with Islam, but there are also differences, so it is not clear, if his grandfather was Muslim or not. Other Africans whose religion Ball mentions, are explicitly called “Mohamedans” (p. 165).
The precepts of that religion are contained in a book a copy of which is kept in each house, implying that the grandfather’s African society had a high degree of literacy, whereas Charles Ball is illiterate. This may be worth mentioning because contemporary apologetics of slavery often claimed that Africans had been “civilized” by slavery.
Charles Ball’s narrative: Fifty Years in Chains
How I See It by Bob Lloyd
There are mobilizers and there are organizers. The demonstrations you have seen and participated in for George Floyd here and across the globe have been successful mobilization events. What is needed now is grassroot organization.
The map on the left are the communities in Spokane where this discussion needs to take place. Suggestions of what you can do in your community are at this link: Mobilizing to Organizing
Sunday June 7, 2020 started off at 10:30 am with meditation and yoga exercises at the Red Wagon. At 2:00 pm the NAACP had one of the largest outside rallies in Spokane’s history. The tone of this rally was set by Kurtis Robinson, Kiantha Duncan, and Le’Taxione. Kurtis Robinson welcomed a large standing crowd at the Lilac Bowl. Kiantha Duncan followed asking everyone to sit down on the grass and center themselves. She had three messages that she wanted to deliver to three groups of people. She thanked all who showed up to nonviolently express their outrage and disappointment with police brutality throughout the country. If there were those who came looking for trouble with signs with hateful speech, she wanted them to take those signs and sit on them. Then she called upon all law enforcement agents to obey the law and treat all demonstrators with respect and human dignity. My observation was that there were no visible signs of law enforcement. Le’Taxione told the audience that he was not speaking to make anybody feel good, he was there to express his strong objections to brutality and the status quo. But he made it quite clear he and the youth he brought would not allow anybody to hijack this peaceful demonstration. If so, they would be escorted out of town. These photographs bear witness to the unified desire that everyone should receive equal justice.
After your demonstrations at the Red Wagon or City Hall you could:
- Ask 5 of your new or trusted friends for their email addresses and mobile phone numbers so you can set up a meeting regularly via Zoom to discuss strategies and planned measurable actions. Assign someone to send information about the measurable actions you plan to firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be shared at the website 4comculture.com. Hopefully when the city opens up and you can have meetings in public places such as coffee shops you will be able to have these discussions face-to-face.
- If you can find 4 people that will accompany you to an arterial in your neighborhood each could stand on a corner displaying their signs for an hour or more
- Walk up and down the block or cul-de-sac where you live with your sign and handout sharing why you march and what others can do to help. This is something you can do alone.
- Stand in front of the house you live in with your sign and have a discussion about why you march with anybody that will join you. Have two socially distant chairs nearby.
Being Black I am always visible! I am asking you to shed your invisibility.
History Lesson On Organizing
Kwame Ture: Converting the Unconscious to Conscious
Standard Digital November 29, 2013
Spokane graduate’s big breaks lead to large accomplishments
What has Dr. Mutua’s big break lead to? He started by planting 5 acres of trees in Mahakos County, hiring local women to water them and donating property so the community could build a sub police station.
See what he is bringing to Machakos only 8 years later…..
Spokane also has its share of those who are part of the African Diaspora, including Ugandans, Kenyans and South Africans. Quoting the article below “… many of her nationals went overseas to earn an education or seek greener pastures. Today, all these Ugandan sons and daughters are mockingly referred to as “Nkuba Kyeeyo”or Kyeyoists” crudely translated as “menial workers cleaning foreign streets for a living after leaving Uganda.” The author makes the point that this is not true. Some may have begun at such menial levels but many have taken advantage of every opportunity and become pharmacists, bankers, politicians, ambassadors, health administrators and media producers. They certainly are not “Nkuba Kyeeyo”!