Ameenah Aljabry: Miami as Text

Photo taken by Emily Morgan. Edited by Ameenah Aljabry/CC BY 4.0

Hi, I’m Ameenah Aljabry! I’m a student at FIU and am majoring in English and minoring in philosophy. I love spreading happiness and love. If I can put a smile on someone’s face, that will make my day. I specifically have a love for animals. I have loved animals since the age of 5 and continue to widen my horizons in the field of animal science. I currently love my job and get to groom dogs every day but am hoping that in my near future I can and will become a veterinarian and have my own practice. I love the arts as well and as a hobby, I sing. So, if you are ever in a car with me while the radio is blasting, I am sorry in advance. I also dabble in drawing and photography. In my eyes, every day is a new opportunity for me to create something special whether it be a connection with another amazing person, a piece of artwork, or an amazing educational discovery. And I truly believe that this class will allow me to continue living my motto to the fullest.

Deering as Text

“Peaceful Waters,” by Ameenah Aljabry of FIU at Deering Estate on September 9th, 2020.

Photos taken by Ameenah Aljabry. Edited by Ameenah Aljabry/CC BY 4.0

As I look back at my first experience at Deering Estate I honestly can say that my emotions have a conflicting nature to them. First, let me start off by saying that the natural aspects of this estate make you feel one with the earth. It is as if you are entangled within this preserves branches, vines, and trees when walking around. As I peered over the Chinese bridge I looked below to a flowing river of freshwater and all I could think was that I wanted to jump in and how refreshing that would be and that I also found it beautiful and serene. Deering Estate has a way of intriguing its guests with its mystery as well as its vast openness when it comes to its landscape and architecture. As we walked down Old Cutler Road I realized that there was so much more deep within these forests that we had no clue about. Just like when looking out at the dock, you would have no clue that five individuals died while making this estate what it is today. I realized that as we stood in this estate we were coming to understand the roots of Miami and its history. The idea that individuals like Charles Deering were striving and growing their name while others were being put to work and not getting any recognition for it and were not treated correctly is not entirely fair. But, the cultural aspects of these underappreciated individuals still shine through in many of the architectural aspects and artwork seen in both The Stone House and The Richmond Cottage. For example, this amazing and intricate mosaic made by the Bahamians is a piece of art that would not be seen anywhere else. This ceiling mosaic consists of shells, coral, and much other common life found in our Miami waters. This shows how innovative these individuals truly were when they did not have regular materials like colored glass. Instead, they made something of their own.

Photo taken by Ameenah Aljabry. Edited by Ameenah Aljabry/CC BY 4.0

This piece of artwork is ageless and tells us a story of culture and wildlife seen in Miami which can be said about many things seen in Deering Estate. Deering Estate can be a magical place where you experience the quietness and calmness of nature, but at the same time see the cultural struggle and suppression as well. And Miami’s history could not be told without revealing both of those aspects.

South Beach as Text

“The City of Colors” by Ameenah Aljabry of FIU at South Beach on September 23rd, 2020.

Photo taken by Ameenah Aljabry. Edited by Ameenah Aljabry/CC BY 4.0

Many might think that South Beach is just a place to vacation, relax, and let your mind wander while you stare at the crystal clear water. But if you dig deeper, there’s much more that makes this destination amazing and haunting at the same time. South Beach was something that had to be altered; mangroves were torn apart for this beach to exist and to flourish to add new resorts and allow it to become something that was only a dream. As an individual born and raised in Miami, it’s always been important to me to truly understand my home land and it’s roots. And from first glance I would have never expected South Beach to be what it truly was. It all started with a vision that Carl G. Fisher had. A dream that he believed he would profit from for decades. He did not let anything stand in his way. He used Blacks to further his vision through their hard work and then secluded them after he believed that the job was done. Blacks were asked to come and even perform in South Beach but could not stay in any of the hotels due to discrimination at the time. So, they had to commute back home after their performances. These individuals were exploited for their talents and hard work to create something so grand and yet they still were only able to go to one beach: Virginia Key Beach. This fact haunts me because these individuals were investing their talents and hard work and many to this day have no clue they exist in the creation of something this big. Even though South Beach has its dark history, it also has some light to it as well. This can be seen in its intricate artwork, that at first glance some might not notice. But, if you just stop to admire for one second, you will be completely drawn in by it. The Art Deco buildings with their mixture of Mediterranean and Mimo art styles bring a unique vibe to the streets of South Beach adding a little spice that can also be seen in our current population that we call the melting pot due to its large mixture of different cultures and backgrounds.

Photos taken by Ameenah Aljabry. Edited by Ameenah Aljabry/CC BY 4.0

Rubell as Text

“The Meaning Behind the Art” by Ameenah Aljabry at FIU at Rubell Museum on October 21st, 2020.

Photo taken by Ameenah Aljabry/CC BY 4.0. Sleep by Kehinde Wiley.

When I first entered this museum, I could feel the creativity flowing through my veins. Just by looking at all those amazing pieces of artwork, it sparked something inside me that wanted to create. But when I specifically looked at the art piece by Kehinde Wiley called Sleep, I was entirely moved. In the world that we live in, especially in its currently political and social climate, the Black community isn’t brightly represented. Even with the progress we have somewhat made through the Black Lives Matter movement, there are large strides to be made when pertaining to the perception of the Black community. Throughout my life living as a half Black and half Hispanic individual, I honestly did not see much representation of my community in the art or the media. So to be able to stand in a museum and to look up at this amazing piece of artwork that showered the Black community with beauty made me feel so many mixed emotions. Happiness, due to the fact that we could finally be portrayed as something ethereal and beautiful as well as a feeling of sadness in the sense that many truly don’t see us in this light. The best part about this piece of artwork is that it sparks dialogue. Yes it’s most definitely beautiful but it also sends a deep message as well; it does two things that great pieces of artwork are meant to do.

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