kat himmel | curious thing
history through portraiture

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art/history: boris vian was right. j'suis snob. popular culture today just seems cheaper somehow than it was in, say, 20s & 30s france. i can't get as excited about christine & the queens, beyonce or (help us!) mumford & sons. someone who graduated from dancing on the streets of st louis to international stardom in the folies bergere couldn't be more compelling. josephine baker, born #otd in 1906,defined the art deco period - & drew praise from none other than #hemingway, who said she was 'the most sensational woman anyone ever saw'. in france, she enjoyed equality...but when she returned to the states in the 1950s, racial discrimination was still rife. josephine didn't let it lie. she began writing & speaking about racial inequality. any club that practised segregation would not see josephine performing & she marched on washington in 1963 with MLK jr, following years of ambassadorial work with the NAACP. her political activism opened her eyes to other forms of injustice & she adopted 12 children - her rainbow tribe - from various countries. by the late 60s, in mounting debt, she lost her home in monaco. grace kelly came to her rescue, providing an apartment. four days after a star-studded show (that attracted luminaries such as sophia loren, mick jagger, diana ross & shirley bassey) at the olympia in paris, josephine died peacefully in her sleep, newspapers stuffed with glowing reviews by her side.

original drawing:
fine art print on cotton paper:
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