This is my Newton's Cradle.
Image: "The Cradle" 2020. Acrylic on 11" X 14" canvas.
Some physicists may say "that is not a Newton's Cradle, the letters are not the same size." Some may not even know what a Newton's Cradle is or the physics behind the device. For those who do not know - Newton's Cradle represents the fundamental laws of physics and mechanics. Specifically the law of conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, elastic collision, and friction.
The fun thing you learn about art is that it is all about perception and expression. I realized after I painted it that, yes, each letter does not visually represent equally masses, but to me, that does not mean that they do not hold the same weight. My artwork is not looking to be statistically or numerically accurate, it's to illustrate what I think it means to be seen in physics.
I started drawing this piece, back in July of 2019. I had a concept and knew exactly what I wanted my piece to look like. However, I was stuck battling with the empty space that this painting left me with. I wanted something bright and cheerful to fill the void to cheer me up, since I was not in a space that made me feel confident with my abilities in physics. However, it did not feel right to paint something of optimism when my entire being felt pessimistic about my experience in physics.
Image: "Untitiled" 2019. Pencil on11" X 14" canvas.
A year later, living through a pandemic and witnessing the life of more black people being killed at the hands of the police, has brought me back to this painting. As cliche as this may sound "I wanted to make a statement". I wanted to look at this painting and see that my blackness mattered, in physics, art, and all in between. It is not a numerical value for departmental statistics to track and to keep as their poster child. It is a fundamental quality (not quantity) that will always be hard to define in terms of something else. It is not something to marginalize, talk over, or disregard. It is a part of me and will always remain constant like energy.
This blog is part of my journey with physics, art, and everything in between. You can find a new post here every Sunday. Here are some upcoming topics and things that I will be talking about later this month.
July 26th: Imposter Syndrome
August 2nd: Being Seen: A Conversations with Dr. Simone Hyater-Adams