May 25, 2009

Diego Rivera and the Bronx Masquerade

I just finished Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes. It was a completely amazing book. It uses a mixture of poetry and prose to tell the story of 18 different students in a multi ethnic classroom.

One student loves to paint and refers to himself as “the future Diego Rivera.” His name is Raul Ramirez and like Diego he focuses on doing self portraits. Here is a a few of Rivera’s portraits with a picture of him.

On page 21 of Bronx Masquerade Raul shares some insight into his art.

I want to show the beauty of our people, that we are not all banditos like they show on TV, munching cuchfritos and sipping beer through chipped teeth. I will paint los ninos scooping up laughter n the sunshine and splashing in the temporary pool of a fire hydrant I will paint my cousins, turning the sidewalk into a dance floor when salsa or la bamba spills from the third-floor window. I will paint Mami, standing at the ironing board late in the evening, after a day of piecework in the factory, sweat pouring off her, steam rising from a pot in the background, me tugging at her skirt while she irons. I will paint the way she used to smile down at me, the love in her eyes saying “I only do this for you.” Mami’s beauty is better than a movie star’s. It survives a kind of life where pamper is a noun, not a verb. I will capture that beauty on canvas, someday, when I am good enough.

3 comments:

  1. Oh I love that quote from the book. It totally makes me want to read this. I am a fan of Diego Rivera's work so that part also intrigues me. Thanks for the review!

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  2. I just made an interactive puzzle about the restored Diego Rivera mural of the history of Mexico. If you have a sec, let me know what you think! Thanks! :)

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  3. I am a young reader and I love to read. But frankly I hated this book. I know what it feels like to live in the ghetto and this book portrays it awfully.

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