Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jean Chiang honors 'Mama G' in Revolution Gallery's 'Tea, Glorious Tea' Exhibition

Artist Jean Chiang honors 'Mama G' in the exhibition 'Tea, Glorious Tea' at Revolution Gallery in Jamaica. In the article below, Chiang recalls her memories of Eglantine Melita Buchanan Gordon and discusses the work included in this show.


“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength” St. Francis de Sales (August 21, 1567 - December 28, 1622)

Eglantine Melita Buchanan Gordon came to mind when I heard this quote in May of this year.

I met Mama G in June, 2001, probably during my first show with Rosie Gordon Wallace and Diaspora Vibe Gallery in Miami. Mama G was undeniably the matriarch, wise, warm and welcoming with a beautiful smile, asking everyone to sign the guestbook at DVG openings. Her gentleness and strength were evident to me from the beginning. Only years later, did I find out that Mama G had purchased one of my pieces, Hand, a clay wall piece of my handprint, from that show. I was moved to hear about Mama G’s early support of my artwork.

Mama G with Roy, Rosie’s husband and Gordon, their son, was one of DVG’s staunchest supporters. Through the years, she attended many openings, always fashionably dressed for the occasion, meeting and greeting the many guests and friends. Mama G was a perfect ambassador for the artists and the gallery and we were always happy to have her presence and positive energy.

During the last nine years of working with Rosie and DVG, I saw Mama G countless times at home, sometimes having a meal together; sometimes Mama G was in her room watching her programs, enjoying Jeopardy, American Idol or Dancing With the Stars; sometimes we sat at the dining table with a cup of tea.

I remember having my first cup of ginger tea with Mama G, “good for the digestion”, I was told. I enjoyed our conversations together and I would try to tell Mama G funny stories or incidents to hear her laugh and shake her head at me as if to say, “Are you serious ?!” I’m sure that I told her about the 7’ dancing bear on a leash on the roadside in India or being asked if I was a ninja by an older woman in black on an overnight Greek ferry or being served an entire loaf or “tower of toast” served vertically on a tea saucer in a quick stop Mexican rail station.

In our times together, I knew Mama G to be “a virtuous woman -- dutiful, loyal, generous, faithful and strong” and....gentle. I never heard her raise her voice on any occasion but I knew that she could certainly make her opinions or ideas known without ever doing so. Twenty nine years ago, Mama G came from Jamaica, from Hanover to Miami. Nine years ago, I came from New York to Miami and became a better person for having known Mama G.

From Hanover to Miami is a mixed media work on paper to honor the life of Eglantine Melita Buchanan Gordon ( November 26, 1916 - June 10, 2010 ). Mama G touched so many lives in so many different ways; she will always be remembered and loved.

Many thanks to Carol Campbell and Revolution Gallery for continuing the tradition of Tea, Glorious Tea. This is the fourth year of my participation in the show.

Special thanks to Rosie Gordon Wallace, Roy Wallace, Gordon Myers and family for sharing their beloved Mama G with the world.

Sincere thanks, appreciation and much love to Rosie Gordon Wallace, Patricia Roldan and Diaspora Vibe Gallery for their support of my artwork through the years.

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