Literacy Campaign, Acrylic on canvas 85 x 43 1990
“This was close to my heart because I am dyslexic.”–G
Giovanni was commissioned to do a painting inspired by the First Lady’s literacy campaign. This is somewhat interesting because Giovanni’s experience in school was anything but straightforward. Giovanni was an indifferent student, to say the least – his purpose was to paint and he saw no reason he should sit in class. For one reason or another, he was put in a special-needs school, where he did not belong. Thus he remains acutely sensitive to those with learning abilities. Here he paints learning disabilities as a sort of shattered glass, as if punctured by bullet holes, the gangster violence of his childhood, with clear red drops that resemble blood, both new and old. But behind the shattered glass, the picture is totally clear. Under the glass nothing is disabled, the mind is clean and cognizant. A learning disability is the shattered glass that is placed over what is in itself wonderful and intelligent.