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Street to Studio: The Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Presented by JPMorganChase.
"I'd say my mother gave me all the primary things. The art came from her." — Jean-Michel Basquiat

This painting has had at least three different titles at different times: El Gran Espectáculo and History of Black People as well as the current name, The Nile. How is each name appropriate in its own way? What would you choose to call this painting?

What does this painting say about Basquiat's personal heritage as a black, male, Caribbean, Brooklyn-born, Spanish-speaking artist? How does The Nile make you think about your own heritage?

Image of The Nile
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Jo-Ann from New York, on the Web
I wonder if he was high on heroin when he painted? His paintings are a series of many in one,he leans towards surreallism. The messages are about the 80's and what a young biracial male would be thinking. I think he was right on and in time with his art.
April from Country, on the Web
While I would like to say something...something..., this is crazy! He had mental problems and chemical dependencies. Why do we spend so much time and energy trying to understand dementia. It's almost like saying, "do I have this, too?" I'm am not a trained artist and can not see why this work, while interesting, is priceless art. It's always a nicer story when the artists tragedy becomes a part of his work but most artists' whose work is 'stranger' than normal is simply because they tend to be stranger than normal.

His work makes me study it like I do graffiti in public restrooms.
CeCe from BEDSTUY,NEW YORK, on the Web
The words and images in the paintings are very deep and ethnic. The title that I came up with is "HERITAGE" because the words in the painting are different languages such as Spanish and English. The various drawings in the painting are black faces and people. This painting mostly relates to Basquait because his parents are Haitian and Puerto Rican. His mother taught various words in Spanish and he wrote most words in the painting but English is mainly his language because he is American.
CeCe from Bedstuy,NEW YORK, on the Web
The Nile painting relates to me in the same way it relates to Basquait. He is black just like my family down line is . He is Haitian and Puerto Rican and I have Puerto Rican in my family as well. Also the language that he learned he shared it with the audience and when I wrote a poem awhile ago I included my Trini slang in it similar to what he did. We both exclusivly shared our talents and included "Heritage".
Antonia from Brooklyn, on the Web
I feel that "Heritage" is a perfect name for the painting because
it represents many elements of Basquiat's heritage as well as
other people's. In the painting you'll notice some words in Spanish
such as "espectaculo"(grand spectacle), "mujer"(woman) and
"esclavo"(slave) which stem from his Puerto Rican descent.
He also uses the words "nile" for the Nile River of Egypt which
is the center of all life and trades there in Africa. There is also
hieroglyphs drawn which were writings the Egyptians once
carved or drew on walls to represent specific things. The words
Thebes and Memphis are also written on his paintings which are
two major cities in Egypt. At the top there is a mask that represents the Nuba people from Sudan. At the bottom the word "sickle" is
written to represent Sickle cell trait and anemia which affects most
African Americans in the world.
I relate to this painting because I am also of Spanish and African
heritage and my ancestors were slaves. However besides that the
the main thing that I really relate to is the word "mujer" and "sickle
because I am one of the many African Americans living with sickle
cell trait and have family members who have sickle cell anemia.
mavash from los angelos, on the Web
i wouldnt call it a masterpiece
cambridgeton from toronto,canada, on the Web
jean michel Basquiat is a great&brilliant black artist and
has gone up in history, the key is he tells a true story .
Very much like the egyptian artist the nile concept is very
positive in his message . Just like Rembrandt,Van gogh,
michaelangelo and other great artist. Give this blackman
some credit in history.

Sophie from London, on the Web
At first I didn't like Basquiats paintings, but they have grown on me. It shows how simple ideas can grow into a big collage with a hidden depth to it. There are so many ideas represented by different images that make you think for a while. Its good!
Kevin.s from Brooklyn, on the Web
There have been many paintings that show off different forms of creativity. Basquait's painting called the nile is a perfect example of this. Basquait perfectly blends egyptian art with modern day culture to show the heritage of arfican-americans. He does this by using
Such words as thebes and memphis to describe that these were cities in ancient egypt.Thus, Using creativity by linking to the modern memphis, tennesse.Another form of creativity that basquait uses is the drawing of the sickle , To explain sickle-cell as being part of the african american heritage. Overall, This painting is true example of what Basquait is
capable of
Sara from Nipomo, on the Web
I think Basquiat was misunderstood by alotta people.....and that his audience wasn't really around in his own lifetime. I was 11 years old in "85", which was his peak......and I really didn't discover him until i was an adult. He rocks. His work needn't be explained, simply enjoyed, discovered, and appreciated. He's making as much, if not more noise, now....then when he was alive. He and Andy Warhol are my fav artists. You can check out my art at