AMIR BEY SLIDESHOW
Amir Bey has many passions: a mixed media sculptor, occult artist, curator, performance artist, writer, radio program producer, and teaching artist. Over the years an important focus in his work has been the face, and the mask. The face “expresses every mood and articulates all thoughts.” For Amir, the face has a vocabulary comprised of a small number of simple components uniquely arranged that are universally recognized.
Amir is engaged in varieties of ongoing series. In one series, The Procession of Folk, he has created a body of work involving carved faces in stone, masks that are sometimes worn in performances, and installations comprised of masks. The Procession of Folk #3, is12 faceted glass windows permanently installed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority at the Mount Eden Station for the #4 Train in the Bronx.
Amir's collaborations involve creating costumes, performance, story-telling, poetry, and set designs. He has performed with or had his work in events with Idris Ackamoor, Rhodessa Jones, Saco Yasuma, Lorna Littleway, Maria Mitchell, Tayuta Pilgrim, and most recently the Elevated Moon series with co-founder reed player and composer JD Parran. He has exhibited and collaborated internationally, including Japan, Turkey, Martinique, Spain, and Germany. As a curator, he has organized over 100 exhibits and events, often combining exhibitions and performances held mainly in the New York City area. He was a broadcaster at Pacifica Foundation’s KPFA-FM in Berkeley, CA,, producing shows such as The Souls of Black Folk, 3rd World News, and his own show, Black Air, from 1973-76.
Mythology and history is a foundation of his work. From an ebony carving in 1976, Moyo Roho, (Kiswahili for "Heart," or "Passion" Spirit) came The Equinox Celebration Tarot carved in African Wonderstone. It is likely the only tarot derived directly from photographed 3-D figures, carved in stone between 1976 and 1980. The figures are evolving: there are four sculptural series of these images, and two decks have been published, and a website, http://www.equinoxcelebration.com.
During his collaborations with Saco Yasuma in the ensemble Synergy: Sight and Sound, he created percussive hanging sculptures: Music Masks, Music Fans, and Music Notes. Later, he created Hexagongs, hexagon-shaped hanging gongs. For Elevated Moon, he created an important series, the Astrologo: mobiles of copper and amalgamated metal whose elements represent cosmic cycles, that are played during Elevated Moon performances. Amir thought there should be a symbol that represents astrology. "After all, many philosophies and religions have symbols, from the Cross of Christianity, to the Dharma Wheel of Hinduism, The Star of David, the Star and Crescent of Islam!"
It was discovered that Astrologos made interesting percussive instruments! Because they move, a player must coordinate hitting with their swaying motion. They can reflect light, and when they spin, an oscillating effect occurs.
Besides being cut out of metal, they have been printed on fabric, and shaped as masks; there are Astrologo Axes; and used for horoscopes. The Astrologo incorporates many aspects of the Earth/Sky relationship: The circle in the center is the Sun and the Earth; there are two crescents on each side of the Sun/Earth, representing the phases of the Moon: the waxing Moon is the crescent on the right, the waning Moon is the crescent on the left. The hours of the day, and the four seven-day monthly weeks are also incorporated in the Astrologo design along with other concepts.
To view his writing and imagery, please visit The New Times Holler! http://www.thenewtimesholler.com