14 September 2011

borders and crossroads

my new work, borders and crossroads, has just been installed in Goddard Riverside's new Bernie Wohl Center at 647 Columbus Avenue in New York. the piece honors Bernie Wohl, who was my first teacher of a particular approach to community work, when we worked together at South Side Settlement House in Columbus, Ohio.  and, for many years, we worked together in New York. Bernie was a colleague and teacher, and became a member of my family.  he left the planet a few years ago, and we all still miss his presence.

so, it is a piece about journeying, and a meditation on ways of transport. how do we get there from here, really?  where many see borders as barriers or obstacles, some learn to embrace crossroads and to see opportunities.  

it may be through the hand of an artist (in this case, a detail of a Barbara Chavous sculpture i photographed). or through extended dialogues with others (at a community meeting in La Colama, Tipitapa, Nicaragua). work is always necessary, digging deep with passion and sweat.  we may travel by taxi or boat or on foot, but always with other people.  it's a solitary journey, but a social one, too.

09 January 2011

we will not be silent

Lane Hall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The exhibit opened on January 6 and will be up through June, 2011.  During two days of installation were rich conversations with various people who work in Lane Hall, either as part of Women's Studies or the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.  Because of the thoughtful comments and questions, I came to really appreciate this space where my work will be for 6 months, and to know that several people will really look at the work in a deep way. What else can an artist ask for?

For this exhibit, I put together a collection of works focusing on people who refuse to be silent, from Mother Jones, to antiwar protestors, to Audre Lorde. I was greatly inspired by Lorde’s essay, "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action", and that led to my piece called the price of silence (shown above) which includes a photo of Audre taken when she visited Ohio Wesleyan College in the early 1980's. 

The other work shown here is called to make the road.  the title comes from the following poem by Antonio Machado:

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada mas;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atras
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.

Traveller, it is your footsteps that are
the road and nothing more.
Traveller, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and turning, you look back at the way 
you will never tread again.
Traveller, there is no road
           only traces on the sea 

This exhibit is co-sponsored by the School of Art & Design, Rackham Graduate School, Center for the Education of Women, Institute for the Humanities, Spectrum Center, Program in American Culture, and History Department.