Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    "Haiti - Struggle and Spirit"

March 2011

This sculpture is 25"x 20"x 20", and composed of painted branches and twigs held together and stitched by threads, wire mesh, handmade paper, and bits of printed cardboard.
It is three-sided.  Each side is different.  Two sides are shown below.

When the earthquake hit Haiti last year, I remembered visiting that island when I was twelve, and traveling throughout the Bahamas with my family.  I remembered the cardboard homes along the water, the young men and boys who came out to the boats to dive for change, the beautiful carvings and artwork that would inspire my own artwork later, and the lush, green, countryside. I came away, not only shocked by the poverty I had seen on such a large scale, but also, by the amazing spirit of the people there.  My twelve year old self would probably not have described it that way, but how else to describe the beautiful art, dance, and ritual to be found on the island? 

 I was deeply saddened, like so many others around the globe,  to see so much tragedy unfolding the day the earthquake hit and afterward, but not surprised to see the Haitian people rally in the face of so much destruction, to make the best they could out of what they had.  I made two sides of this piece shortly after that day last year, and felt they were parts of something else.  I felt they should be standing up, not hanging on a wall.  I like, now,  that they lean on each other for strength. 

I remembered the bits of old boxes, and found metal and paper that made up the homes along the shore. I also remembered the clotheslines full of white sheets and clothing drying in the sun.  Last year those sheets, now red as well as white,  covered the dead.  While the painted twigs in this piece are about the blood spilled during the earthquake and throughout Haiti's history, its also about courage and spirit.

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