I am delighted to participate this month in a new show entitled Continuum: Gender Identities at The Ridgefield Guild of Artists. The Guild is excited to announce that it will be mounting a national exhibition entitled Continuum: Gender Identities, opening April 30, 2011, through June 3. This exhibition, curated by artist Nancy Moore, parent of a transgender son, will be a powerful exploration of how artists choose to depict gender in their work: from traditional images of masculine and feminine, to work that bends or questions the role of female and male.
I am entering one flag from my E Pluribus series of US flags that celebrate diversity. As an immigrant from England I am particularly moved by the ways so many diverse people thrive together in harmony. I’ve submitted this piece because of its focus on the celebration of marriage. Representing the Mali people, this flag is made from very long thin strips of hand-loomed fabric typically made into blankets for a Fulani wedding. These blankets, up to 15 feet long, may be hung on a wall, over the bed, or as a room partition. They may also function as a mosquito net. The beads are made in the Czech Republic and originally were used as trade beads but soon became part of the Fulani wedding tradition, probably because of their colorful and festive appearance. My artistic mission is to use the symbol of the US flag to celebrate the cultural diversity and freedom of expression of the people in the United States and to emphasize the concept of our beautifully conceived US motto: E Pluribus, Unum (Out of Many, One). In the context of this exhibit, I am delighted to express a further subtlety of our E Pluribus, Unum motto highlighted by this flag: the idea that two genders become one within the form of marriage.
I hope to see you there at the opening celebration on Saturday, April 30th from 6- 9PM.
Ridgefield Artists Guild is located at: 34 Halpin Lane, Ridgefield CT 06877
Well, it’s been a very long time since I made a post here because my E Pluribus flag project has been very consuming. To find out about it check out www.epluribus.us.
But I am here today to share something that is right in line with this blog. I just received a a beautiful email from Marilyn Strong and Jerry Wennstrom that I would like to share. They point out with somber clarity the presence of grace under fire in a whole nation. Thank you Marilyn and Jerry and thank you to the Japanese people for showing us how to behave to each other.
Here it is:
10 things to learn from Japan:
1. THE CALM
Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.
2. THE DIGNITY
Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.
3. THE ABILITY
The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.
4. THE GRACE
People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.
5. THE ORDER
No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.
6. THE SACRIFICE
Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?
7. THE TENDERNESS
Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.
8. THE TRAINING
The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.
9. THE MEDIA
They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.
10. THE CONSCIENCE
When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly.
I would like to add one more thing to the list:
11. THE TRUTH
They are not hiding or soft peddling the full magnitude of the disaster.
Strength of one’s character is reflected in one’s behavior at the crucial moment.
Character of people is what makes the character of a nation.
Marilyn Strong and Jerry Wennstrom can be reached at:
PO 522 Clinton, Whidbey Island. WA. 98236
Phone: 360 341-3382
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