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I Was Of Three Minds: Understanding America Through Bluebirds and Blackbirds

at The Painted Bride Art Center

January 23 - March 8, 2015

I Was Of Three Minds was a collaborative installation by Roberto Lugo and Mat Tomezsko, featured as a part ofThe City Real & Imagined: Urbanism, Identity, and Identification at The Painted Bride Art Center, featuring Amze Emmons, Jesse Krimes, Drew Leshko, and Roberto Lugo + Mat Tomezsko


The two birds are symbols frequently used in American folk song and culture. The bluebird, and the flight of the bluebird, represents happiness, freedom, sweetness, optimism, lightness; however, it is something that exists mostly in hopes and dreams (Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly), and maybe doesn't actually exist. The incongruity of the perceived easiness of the bluebird, and their exclusive existence in the realm of hopes and dreams, annihilates the identity of the actual bluebird. They blend in with the empty sky, the embrace constricting.


The blackbird is free at heart, but often flightless. This flightlessness represents an oppression inflicted upon the bird, stifling its strong will and its potential (Why you wanna fly, blackbird? You ain’t ever gonna fly). Through injury or captivity, it is held back from the easy free flight enjoyed by the bluebird. But as we know, bluebirds don't really exist as easy free creatures, and the freedom of the bluebird is what makes the oppression of the blackbird so apparent. The blackbird is only ever mentioned in its relation to flight, and is therefore defined by this struggle, preventing any individual traits from emerging.


The situation perpetuates itself. The blackbirds want to fly where the bluebirds fly; the bluebirds fly only in legend and song. Perceived as the symbol of freedom, the bluebird embodies oppression. Perceived as the symbol of the oppressed, the blackbird embodies freedom.

The exhibition features ceramics by Roberto Lugo, and portraits, birds, and abstract paintings by Mat Tomezsko

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