Dusti Bongé poem and drawing

Another surprise for us this week from Dusti Bongé: a poem. SeeGreatArt’s partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation continues revealing fresh insights into the prolific Mississippi artist. Insight into the artwork, as always, comes from Dusti Bongé Art Foundation Executive Director Ligia M. Römer.

Dusti Bongé, There is a Door in Silence, 1965, felt tip pen and pastel on paper, 11” x 8 1/2”. Paul Bongé Collection.

This 1965 work on paper is part of about ten explorations Dusti Bongé did, several of which had a certain geometric, spatial quality to them. They were all done on thin paper reminiscent of architectural tracing paper and they all employ a color palette of mostly green, purple, and yellow, in a mix of felt tip pen and pastel. They are all signed and dated “Dusti Bongé ‘65” in the lower right.

In the 1980s, Dusti documented a selection of her works, partly in preparation for her book “The Life of an Artist” in 1982. This small work was one of those she chose to have photographed even though it ultimately did not wind up in the book. On the slide of the work it is titled There is a Door in Silence, which is also the title of a poem she wrote.

The poem reads as follows:

There is a door in silence

square, blue and black.

A purple corridor

which swallows yellow light.

Leads from there to depths


The poem’s words seem to closely relate to this drawing with its black, green and purple shapes respectively receding into the center and the small burst of yellow light peeking out on one side. Interestingly, the poem does appear in the book, but is paired with a completely different work of art, a large painting from 1954 titled Essence. Dusti did point out that although sometimes the poems and paintings express the same thoughts, their pairing in the book was mostly incidental.

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