The Ambrosia of Truth

Happy New Year,

I have been making my E Pluribus Flag series for 15 years now. This year I plan to celebrate diverse culture more than ever and I have a simple way to do this. I hope you too will join in. I plan to watch out everyday for special gifts of culture that enrich all of our lives. Yesterday you might have seen my first Instagram post. I used a pair of Nordic patterned socks to patch the elbows of my favorite cashmere sweater. Enjoying and putting to use colorful patterns and craftwork inspired by one culture is one thing but today I want to go to the utterly opposite end of the spectrum and share something deeper.

On New Year’s Day I listened to an inspiring New Year’s talk by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. I came away cherishing the term Satya Rasa – the ambrosia of truth. Today the idea of truth is very confused. It is too often manipulated, politicized, misunderstood and abused. I for one feel battered after this last year but yesterday I dipped into a sweet, calm, delicious pool of truth and enjoyed profound, ancient gifts of wisdom from across the world. http://www.siddhayoga.org/gurumayi-chidvilasananda

The company of truth is unmistakable when the heart is open and when the mind is awakened, it is ambrosia. It is, also, as I heard yesterday “available to everyone.” I am reminded that my passion for exploring all the aspects of culture began during a fire ceremony at the Siddha Yoga Ashram upstate New York many years ago. Whether dealing with a damaged sweater or a battered heart we all have so much to offer each other. The fabric of our civilization is strong because of the profound and the practical gifts we share. I will be watching for them and sharing on Instagram, I hope you will join in and share inspirations about your culture too. Check in at – murielanyc or https://www.instagram.com/murielanyc/

Beyond Tolerance

Well this post has been boiling for a while. 

I heard about an Iranian prisoner who was forced to dress like a Kurdish woman as an insult. Kurdish women protested and the next thing that happened was a spontaneous Facebook protest of many men dressing as Kurdish women in support of the women and the prisoner. Click here to read about it.

Finally today I see a Reddit post about a Sikh woman whose image was posted as a joke and  her brilliant response to the insult. Plus the apology of the one who posted the insult. See it here:

Clearly we are moving through a time of maturation and growing to understand each other a bit better. I thank the connectedness of the web for that. Keep it up everyone after all this is Heaven. Muriel GrabéPosted on Categories heaven is hereTags , , , , Leave a comment on Beyond Tolerance

E Pluribus Crystal Flag

I decided to make a fun sparkly and colorful flag just to please my inner child. I have a tendency to get altogether too serious about everything and it was time to inject some fun into the process.
This flag is a departure from my project to honor diverse cultures but I’m happy to just celebrate the flag too on occasion.
crystal_flag

E Pluribus in Queens

Yesterday was my first talk about the flag series E Pluribus. I am very honored and delighted to be a part of Mayor Bloomberg’s 6th Annual Immigrant Heritage Week and I want to thank Esther Hughes of the Mayor’s office and Doris Jones of the Queens Library Office for their generous assistance in making this happen. I also want to thank Andrew Jackson of Langston Hughes Library and Gina Fazio of the Flushing Library for arranging for the gallery spaces. I also want to thank Susana Galli for inviting me to participate in the International Immigrant Foundation’s gallery show. Thanks also to Jamel Dixon for hanging the Langston Hughes show so beautifully.

There are 4 flags hanging in a lower lobby area of the Flushing Public library and I gave the talk in a very nice adjacent auditorium. It was fun and though the weather was dreadful quite a few hardy souls came out for the discussion. It took me about 2 and a half days to construct my first powerpoint presentation. It was interesting to go back through the completed projects and retrieve the images that inspired them, like edelweiss flowers, keffiya head wraps and bamboo furniture. I am now always looking to find objects that represent the great offerings of the diverse cultures here. I am open to suggestions too. My talk really focused on the value offered by different cultures coming to live together here in the States. It is always about the people, about the value of individuals, about the value of what individuals can do together in groups whether they are tribal, communal, cultural or spiritual. I found myself repeating the idea that I have chosen uplifting symbols to represent these flags.

I feel it is critical to remember the gifts we share together and to emphasize the life affirming symbols and actions that we can celebrate and practice to make our daily experiences better and better. Let’s dance rather than fight, let’s make art instead of bullets and gardens instead of battlegrounds. Everyday we face choices and I personally resolve to choose actions, thoughts and words that affirm life, freedom, liberty and justice for all. Hmmm, I think I read that somewhere.

Anyway, this art project is an exercise in remembering the fantastic ideals written by the founders of this country that created the space for so many diverse cultures to come and live together in harmony. We are an example for the world. Let’s keep it working; kudos to Queens and the diverse residents there who show us all throughout the world how to live together.

I hope you can get to Langston Hughes Public Library in Corona or Flushing Library to see the flags. This Saturday there will be a reception at 1 PM with music by the Senor Lucky Blues Band starting at 2 PM at the Langston Hughes Library. I will give the talk again at 3 PM Saturday and tomorrow I will give it to some groups of school children also at the Langston Hughes Library. I hope to see you there.

Langston Hughes Public Library: April 17th to May 30th during library hours.
100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona, NY 11368 Contact: (718) 651-1100

Artist’s reception: Saturday, April 25, 1-4PM with Senor Lucky Blues Band at 2PM
Flushing Queens Public Library: April 17th to April 30th during library hours.
41-17 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355 Contact: (718) 661-1200

Artist’s talk: Monday April 20, 6PM (www.queenslibrary.org)
International Immigrant’s Foundation: April 17th to April 23rd
7 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 Contact: (212) 302-2222 (www.10.org)