“The Rouse Collection at UCLA are volumes of loose leaf manuscripts which showcase the different calligraphy styles that changed during the Middle Ages across Europe. This loose leaf from France presents the calligraphy style of early gothic script or gothic textura from the eleventh or twelfth century, on parchment paper. This calligraphy style originated in England and traveled across Europe, where in northern France, French scribes, illuminators and parchment makers (both men and women) in ateliers or workshops were inspired to create their own versions in Old French.
The rise of universities in northern France precipitated the spread of secular knowledge resulting with the rise of literary discourse between northern and southern France about the series of conquests during the eleventh century, like the “Norman Conquest of Sicily and South Italy (1016 and 1075), the Norman Conquest of England (1066), the Spanish Crusades (1018) and the first Crusades to the Holy Land (1095)” (23, M.K Pope). To the modern eye, gothic textura is an anonymous process because the words are represented as golden woven patterns, or in Latin, textura (137, Marc Drogin) to make a visual impact rather than individual letter recognition. The scribe’s artistic individuality is demonstrated by the uniqueness of the letters at the beginning of every sentence or initial, and the representation of shorthand implemented over the standard usage of lettering used in Latin-based languages. To read the golden textura was like reading luxury shorthand amongst literate folk; unfortunately the inner-known meanings were lost over time due to the creation of the printing press.”
“NA. Rouse Collection V5 (Collection 360). France. UCLA Library Special Collections.”
“Käsebier invites us to the home of children’s book author Peggy Lee and her daughter Agnes. Agnes looks straight at the viewer, while her mother’s hand on her shoulder signifies a mother’s guidance. The white tones, light background and painting of the Annunciation represents the tender intimacy between mother and child. Shortly after this photograph was taken, Peggy Lee passed due to illness, a common reality of a child’s hope changing course.” Gertrude Käsbier (United States, Iowa, Fort Des Moines, (1852-1934)
United States, 1899.
“Blessed Art Thou Among Women”
Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin
This work is unsettling, depressing, and uncomfortable. Kara Walker visualizes the horror of the transatlantic slave trade to America: The boat is rocking in harsh waves, the big storm clouds are rising, a Black woman has sunken underwater. The hands carry the ship, symbolizing the group effort during tragic times. This is the struggle of transporting victims to foreign land. This work is my favorite because it addresses the dark roots of American history. It raises my consciousness of the oppression in a place that I, as a child of immigrants who fled war in the Middle East, call “my home.”