When I first began this mixed media embroidery it was composed of left over fragments from my art therapy room: bits of moulded home made clay, reclaimed fabric and buttons. My creative attempts did not have a clear direction until the events in Haiti were made real by the streaming images on TV and in the news and through knowing Haitian friends and colleagues. The work at that time took on a new dimension, its direction shifted, its meaning morphed. I realised on some level that these broken bits being reconfigured and rearranged were a kind of metaphor to what was happening in Haiti. My work took on a different meaning and found purpose, a direction to what it wanted to say.
Artists often pick up on the feelings of a time and process them through their art. At times, this processing bypasses objective understanding; it is a felt sense that shapes the work and sometimes only reveals its true source through the eyes of savvy viewers years down the line.
Picasso’s Guernica is a similar example. It began as a commission from the Spanish Republican government in 1937 and was destined for the Paris exhibition. When the German bombing of the city of Guernica took place on April 30th, 1937 it made a strong impression on Spanish born Picasso who let go of his original idea for his art work to create what is now a potent symbol of loss of innocent lives through destruction.
My memorial to Haiti began as something else, the content was given focus with the recent events. It depicts the fragments of lives lost, the faces of those affected, those who have survived. Threads hold the pieces together, threads like relationships, that bind and contain, support and guide. The spirals embroidered in the background are both creative (clockwise) and destructive when they twirl to the left (Cirlot, Symbols). The spiral is an emblem of atmospheric phenomena. The seed stitch used in the upper hand and across the surface are seeds sown for new growth. The color of the cloth is red, the color of life and of blood shed. The silvery beads are pieces of tin cans rolled into beads; they represent foreign aid. Most of what was used in this creative embroidery are items that were either found, given or re-purposed; to me they symbolise the creative possibilities of recreating anew with the old mixed in with the new and what can be salvaged and re-purposed.
I extend my deepest sympathies to all who have been affected by this immense and unprecedented tragedy.
24 fév 2010