New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Painting for Justice

August 12, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Jordan Flaherty, Politics

A Mother’s Art Brings Attention to Wrongly Convicted Young Men

by Jordan Flaherty

As the date approaches for the 10th anniversary of her son’s conviction, Sheila Phipps is hard at work completing a powerful and moving series of paintings that tell the stories of wrongly-convicted young men in the U.S. prison system.

Phipps, a self-taught artist in New Orleans, has been selling and displaying her work for more than 20 years. Her son is Mckinley “Mac” Phipps, the legendary New Orleans rapper who was convicted of manslaughter in 2001 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In collaboration with the Innocence Project, Phipps contacted prisoners across the nation and researched their cases. Once she read enough evidence to convince her of their innocence, she communicated with the prisoner and then painted an image of them.

Now, Phipps is unveiling a series of ten works, for a show called the Injustice Exhibition. Her use of color and framing varies with the inspiration, ranging from muted portraits to bright explosions of color, often capturing small details like focusing on a subject’s feet or hands. In the portrait of her son she highlights the gentle features of his face. (more…)

Colombia: Imagining a Culture of Peace

June 16, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy, Politics

Building Trust and Community Through Theatrical Programs

by Diane Lefer

“Theatre Festival!” said the taxi driver. “Spending money on theatre when people don’t have food to eat! What for?”

That’s what I hoped to find out from May 20-30 in Barrancabermeja, Colombia where I would offer a series of writing workshops and seek to answer questions of my own: How could theatre contribute to peace in a country where the armed conflict has gone on for six decades? How did the violence come to an end in this particular city — center of the country’s oil industry, once the site of battles pitting guerrilla forces against the Colombian army, and paramilitary death squads against civilians?

What did it mean to hold an International Theatre Festival for Peace when till 2010, during the eight years of the Uribe administration, anyone who talked about peace or a political solution to the country’s woes risked being called a terrorist — a label that could target you for assassination? (more…)

The Economy of Poetics

February 10, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Victor Postnikov

On the Virtues of Self-Sustaining and Simple Living

by V.I. Postnikov

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.” – Rumi

“The environmental crisis is the crisis of aesthetics.” – James Hillman

“The poet knows of no ‘waste’…. Ecopoetics is the way of thinking economically.” – Hwa Yol Jung

It is the right time for poets and artists to engage in economics. We can’t allow the greedy and self-important “experts” and “economists” to push the world to the brink of catastrophe. A lot has already been written and said about the impending collapse — I won’t repeat it.

The idea is that the systemic collapse could be prevented, or, at least, alleviated, by invoking an inner artist in everyone and directing the artistic creativity to the dismantling of the Mega-Machine. Roughly speaking, in order to survive, we need to decentralize the economy as soon as possible by reducing it to an individual craftsmanship. I understand all the objections and losses involved, even fierce opposition, but the gains are superlative. Ultimately, people will see it as the only strategy, whether pre- or post-collapse.

(more…)