New Dawn, New Day, New Year: 2021

Giving ourselves an emotional lift with song:



Feeling Good, written by Anthony Newley and Lesley Bricusse and published in 1964, 

was recorded in 1965 by Nina Simone for her album, I Put A Spell On You




Study for a Mural at the home of the Goens in Hockessin, Delaware, 1963, oil on canvas board.

  Aaron Douglas, 1899-1979, American.  Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington




The ending of the old year and the beginning of the new:


Janus is standing there at this passage at the turn of the year:


God of Gateways, of Doorways, of the Journey. 

Lord of Beginnings, Protector of the Gate of Heaven, Keeper of the Boundary between Peace and War




Janus-faced headdress, Nigeria, lower Cross River, Ejagham peoples, Apkarabong clan, 19th-20th century, wood, skin, paint, basketry.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



Such a difficult year as we have all had: perplexing and sad,




Twisted Face Mask, Mexico, Veracruz, 600-900 ACE, ceramic and pigment.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY




circulating masked for protection against an unseen force;

public transport, offices, shops, museums all but abandoned


The Sneeze, mixed media, paper, aluminum and paint. 

Eustace Mamba Francis, 2020 Bachelor of Fine Arts; no other information; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia



sustaining each other with the little gifts of ‘normal’ life;




Milkweed (South African, Gomphocarpus physocarpus), left as an autumn gift on a porch bench




and being sustained by the cycle of the natural world:




A field of zinnias in one of the last farms neighbouring Philadelphia at Plymouth Meeting where we pick zinnias in summer




Telling Janus, as I greet him, that, while it may not be proper for the museum to import him from Rome to Africa where Rome ever had little sway,


I hope that the increase of his supposed dominion amuses him………


telling him also of the multiple existential passages we are attempting in the new year;



such as the hard journey for children through a socialization without the company of their peers:




Superman Holding Life, 2020, pastel and oil on paper.

119th Student Exhibition, a member of the graduating class at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia.  I regret I do not know who painted this




A child neighbour, in Jedi form, emerges from his house early in the morning to do battle with the unseen virus which has kept him away from his playmates




all of us moving carefully forwards.




Aspiration, oil on canvas, 1936.

Aaron Douglas, 1899-1979, American. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco on loan to the Whitney Museum of (North) American Art in 2020.

One of two surviving mural panels executed by this artist in 1936 for the Hall of Negro Life at the Texas Centennial Exhibition, the first World’s Fair in the US to note the achievements of Black Americans.



With best wishes to you!