“It’s not just a boy’s club. We’ve got a sisterhood going.” –Lady Pink
Bad Ass. That’s what I say to my daughters. That’s what they say to me. We repeat it for emphasis in hushed tones, reverence: Serena’s a Bad Ass. Diva of high notes, fashion. Built like a brick house in black tight leather. Her powerful body in a leopard skin dress as she prepares to pounce on a weak second serve. Her serve hit as hard as half the men–and with accuracy, placement, disguise. How many women pitch in the big leagues? That’s what Serena’s serve was. Bad Ass.
Lady Pink, the first lady of Graffiti, paints Serena against a pulsating background of bright-cool-lipstick-loud colors. These are not delicate scrolls of rococo seashells in living rooms of decorative grace, but half spirals/whorls/lines of female creative energy, self-expression, political rebellion . . . (always remembering self-expression for a woman–especially a woman of color—was/is a politically rebellious act). The crown placed deftly atop Serena’s head is a female descendent of the crowns Basquiat bestowed upon his male boxers and musicians who were role models of self-expression and self-determination in the black community. Now Serena wields her racquet like Muhammed Ali his mouth and fists, Charlie Parker his lightening sax. Be yourself. Move forward. That’s what I hear Pink’s portrait shout, though not quite as loudly as one of Queen Serena’s screams on court. The old rules of exclusion were made to be broken. Joy Harjo (Muscogee/Creek), our current Poet Laureate, writes: “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end. / You must make your own map.”
Artist Bio (Taken from Widewalls) Lady Pink (Sandra Fabara, born in Ecuador) is one of the greatest female street artists from Queens, New York. Looking for a way to cope with the loss of her love, Lady Pink took her grief to the streets when she picked up her first can of spraypaint in the late 1970s. What at first was simple tagging of her lost love’s name across New York, quickly evolved into one of the most respected street art careers. It goes without saying that Lady Pink used to be the only prominent female artist in New York’s graffiti scene for a long period of time. Her instantly recognizable 1990s murals and subway cars, which featured rather playful images with camouflaged graffiti, cemented Lady Pink’s status of a living New York graffiti legend and one of the most famous graffiti artists. You can learn more about Lady Pink and check out her amazing art on instagram and on her website.
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Portions of this writing were first published in The Mulburry Fork Review.