Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti 2010, The Dolls, Toothpaste, a Little Girl, and the BBC

Note that the Angels and the Devils are in the details. I think the detail of reports coming out of the rubble of the Haiti Earthquake that burned like lightening through my heart, was that of the toothpaste. Even the dolls could not compete, doll person that I am, little girl that I was, alone as I felt in those days.

The young man reporting from Haiti for the BBC told of a detail of the catastrophe, a detail of a little girl alone. His voice from the radio by my bedside was obviously overwhelmed by his desire and his inability to help, to do more than merely report; what tore him inside was his inability to help at all in the face of so much need all around him. I heard it in his voice.

He reported a few days after the Earthquake from the street where finally people desperate for food had been able to gain access to a store. He was obviously moved, I could hear it in his voice. He told listeners of a little girl, about seven years old, a little girl alone. She had been in the store broken into by desperate others, in one hand she held a bag of dolls, she held in her other hand a tube of toothpaste,the only goods she had acquired from the store. Chaos all around her, a man ran by, grabbed her bag, and the toothpaste tube out of her hands. The young reporter described her cry, pain in his voice, helplessness all around, even as he held the microphone to the keening wail of the little girl, and even as I write these words, my own heart is rent by the remembered sound.

It seems to me her family, her only home, whatever she might have had before the horror of the quake, was gone, and she was alone. It seems to me she took the dolls in desperate need of any kind of family. Her only family was now taken from her, cruelty upon cruelty, a child kicked when clearly down. All children are down, even in the best of circumstances. Care and soothing were not forthcoming for this one in need. She was trying to care for herself and her family of dolls. She had been taught to brush her teeth, and knowing how to care for herself in this way was important to her dignity and sense of reality. In this moment however, dental hygiene was not a comfort allowed her, alone and traumatized though she was in the hellish world she inhabited. I think of her daily since I heard the story, I wish her help and comfort, I wish her soothing and love.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Adam and Eve XVIII

This is one of a pair in a series, as were the originals,(see below).

The sculptures, also in the grouping of Adam and Eves, stand alone in the crowd.

Adam and Eve and the Short Distance of Time Surrounding an Object

As relative time passes and relative distance grows it becomes clearer what is important to me. This is relatively important as I am the creative person that I am, and I am not you, or any other. There are times to be swept up in the minutiae of daily and bureaucratic life because there are times and places when we really seem not to have a choice in such matters. Such a time it has been for several months, and my life has been the place around which the objects of law, the requirements of material, and the obstacles to freedom have seamlessly flown into my path.

And so has finally arrived the moment of some creativity, when I allow myself to briefly comment on this seventeenth Adam and Eve I painted or sculpted out of twenty-nine that I created seemingly, but not quite, out of thin air. This for example is oil paint on canvas.

More important to me than material concerns (although as one glorious Art Professor at UCSC, Donald Weigant pointed out--- "art is SUCH a materialist pursuit"---and he did of course refer to visual art as that is what he taught) are not the spiritual either, as Kandinsky would have it, but the personal/psychological in art, in Adam and Eve, in life.

This began to emerge from my work in a much more literal than ever before way in this Adam and Eve series, some of which appear further down this blog, some of which I shall post above, with as little explanation as possible. Suffice it for now to say that for me they are an original male fantasy of bearing no burden of guilt, of finding yet another use for the female of the species, that of Carrier of Collective Guilt. The more interesting question is how it happened that the guilt itself through the culture of at least one of the three religions influenced by the story was interpreted. Through the ages (time and space again) sex and the perception and resultant feelings surrounding all of these became the fulcrum of debate, shall we euphemistically call it. Actually, as many understand the myth, the tasting of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, resulted in the sin of knowing what only God heretofore had known. Tragically, it was a story told by men, notorious deniers, hiders from many truths, that set the world up for destruction by thousands and thousands of tiny cuts, as the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny continues to cut it's swath through the diminishing jungle that should have been this world. Or should it have been the Garden of Eden? It's all relative.