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Adding a new video tour of my studio, taken last week. Hope you enjoy.

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipPmZhwbDB2JF-xNBu8CEQDMED6kNxNaCDaNO6Gv

MEET ME HOME: An Art and Poetry Exhibition

POET: AIMEE NOEL, Dayton, Ohio

INTRODUCTION: This exhibition will hang at The McMillan Gallery in Dayton, Ohio through the spring. Due to coronavirus, the opening was live on Facebook. Collaborating with a talented local poet, Aimee Noel, I made art and she wrote poetry in response to the art. Following is our theme.

In our conversations about collaborating on a joint art/poetry exhibition, Aimee and I realized that we were both concerned about the treatment of refugees and immigrants to this country. People turned back at the border, people traumatized by dangerous travel, people separated from their family members, people being treated poorly because they were from somewhere else. In addition, we knew people who had come to Dayton from other countries because their own homes were not safe, who took risks that we could only imagine, who landed here and made a life, a good one, and who are now integral members of our community. So we decided to talk to some people about this topic called Immigration.

I started creating art, and Aimee looked at my art and started writing poetry. This is the result.

Journey Map One: J

I started by interviewing J, who came here years ago from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He had to leave home when he was in college because he supported democracy and was being pursued by rebel forces. Today he is a University professor.

Aimee’s poem is about one of her students who also made a perilous journey from his home country to the US.

JOURNEY MAP: J, COLLAGE ON CANVAS, WITH GROMMETS, 36?H BY 48?W, $1550

Abdi’s Journey

Aunties. Silhouetted

faces eclipse my sky.

Near-song words

flow into me.

They pass me

from cradled arm

to arm-cradle. My baby feet

never touch the Kenyan—

I run from other boys.

They catch me when

I stumble and they kick

powdered dirt at my face

until it traps my breath. I learn

their Somali words, stronger than

Swahili, for hurling back at them.

Grandfather joins pirates for routine,

he says, and money. He practices

lobbing a pipe the length of dynamite

until black plumes of diesel carry him—

I go home, to Kenya, to leave. Aunties cluck at my foreign-

bird sounds and fuss over my height and

pass papers in a circle like they are sharing

a cherished photo. I am to carry the papers.

Because I am a lone runner, it is easy

to believe that I am the fastest in my family—

Modesto cousins point to their shoes, their bed,

their dad and say Mine.  I do not know this English word.

I do not know any word they want me to say. I eat

from their discards. They leave for school and I wash

clothes and am warned not to leave the house.

But eventually I end up—

This is my stepdad, they say. StepdadSan Diego. He beats

English words into me, but not fast enough for him to—

Grandmother teaches me how to make her tea.  I match

the drink’s temperature to the weather. It is winter and

her tea could melt all the snow in Toronto.  I am helpful,

add Arabic, and pretend my grandmother wants me to stay.

I pretend she is my mother. We are both afraid of all the cars that—

Columbus, I learn, understood my family’s future.  He knew how

to enslave.  To cut off hands of those who robbed the gold mines.

That young girls were the same value as a farm to the right man.

That dogs are worth feeding for the terror they caused. Fitting city

for me in Ohio. No one, not even the fastest in the family, could out run—

I move to a corn town where I am a crow.  I join my mother.  I meet siblings who wear citizenship like the right name brand. Easily. Unconsciously. I miss school to attend

my asylum hearings. Twice denied.  I agree to join the military. For routine. And for money.

Journey Map Two: MJ

When I interviewed MJ I learned about her kidnapped father-in-law, still missing, and her family’s perilous journey from Colombia to Dayton. Like J, their lives were in danger. She now works for a successful non-profit.

JOURNEY MAP: MJ, COLLAGE ON CANVAS, WITH GROMMETS, 36?H BY 48?W, $1550

Welcome

because your daughter had to find different ways home from school

because you were on the losing side of a war you did not start

because you were on the losing side of a war you did not fight

because you could not leave work at a predictable time

because you eventually had to leave work

because they kidnapped your father-in-law

because you had to close the restaurant

because protection money ran out

because your friend was murdered

because a ransom was demanded

because you still have a bag packed

because you still check for exits

because you had to move

because you had to move

because you had to move

because we have enough

because we certainly have enough

because we certainly have enough to share

Tumbling Walls

Early on I looked at protyped walls. At the time there were eight. So I made eight tumbling walls made mostly of rusted metal.

TUMBLING WALLS, COLLAGE ON CANVAS, EACH CANVAS 12? BY 12?,
FRAMED SIZE 17? BY 17?, 8 PIECES HUNG EDGE TO EDGE, $2600

Tumbling Walls

Once upon a time, our leader

called for a wall’s deconstruction.

And both sides cheered.

Once upon a time.

Maybe someday we will

be the swift current,

reminded of our own

checkered-sky past,

undercutting foundations

of this concrete hubris

until top-heavy sections

topple like hated monuments

into a stained-glass sea.

But that is more hopeful

than I can be. Right now

I can only offer masonry

dust and rusted flakes of hate

and ask you to remember

[      Aurora       ]

[      Dayton       ]

[Charlottesville ]

[  Squirrel Hill   ]

[     El Paso        ]

that, before blueprints,

walls were built

in our own minds.

Sanctuary
“Give me your tired, your poor” …Emma Lazarus
Look closely: you may see the Statue of Liberty.

SANCTUARY, WOVEN COLLAGE TAPESTRY, 72? BY 50?, HANGS ON COPPER ROD, $9000

Lady Liberty’s Truth

for Emma Lazarus

She arrived a mere skeleton, copper over iron bones,

for solace on American soil. She waited in the ship’s hold

while this country, arguing over where she should land,

scraped together a spit of sand. The island they offered,

having already harbored pestilence and plague,

seemed a fitting proposal for the woman dressed

as a slave. This country had no vision to see Liberty

over their mounds of money. Only washerwomen

and children had piled their pennies to build her a base,

so, offshore, she waited for months in crates. Until Emma

stabbed a pen to the center of our shame. And the wealthy,

who would not be left behind, hearkened to a Jewish woman’s

sonnet strong enough to pry open purses with subtle rhymes.

Give me your tired and your poor, every time.

Our Country’s Heart
is in its immigrants.

OUR COUNTRY’S HEART, WOVEN COLLAGE TAPESTRY, 76? BY 48? , $7500

Words by Heart

Concentric stories ripple

like emotional sonar:

a baby born along the way,

strangers sharing a garden row,

a job, loved or hated, left behind,

parents, too life-tired to leave.

Refugees flee with only their anthems,

harbor here and offer their best:

hard work, persistence. How lucky

we are, humbled by people

who remind us of our humanity.

Remind us how kindness grows

when used.  That empty chair

in our home begs for another

human being. We have room

to share our own woven stories:

a baby born along the way,

a garden growing, world-weary parents.

And at the soft-organ center, beet red,

beating hearts repeat until

our circling lives sync because

nothing separates us beyond our skin.

Those Who Sit in Darkness

The title refers to a verse in the Bible. I see this person in darkness but emerging into light.

THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS, COLLAGE ON CANVAS, CANVAS 36? H BY 24?W, FRAMED 42? BY 30?, $1250

Circle
Shut Out
Taken In

This is a trilogy; each piece shows one part of the story.

CIRCLE, COLLAGE TAPESTRY, 33?H BY 26?W, HANGS ON COPPER ROD, $1200

CIRCLE TWO, SHUT OUT, COLLAGE TAPESTRY, 34?H BY 241/2?W, HANGS ON COPPER ROD, $1200

CIRCLE THREE, TAKEN IN, COLLAGE TAPESTRY, 34?H BY 28? HIGH, HANGS ON COPPER ROD, $1200

Outwitted

He drew a circle that shut me out–

Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in!

– Edwin Markham

      This entry was posted in Pip’s BLOG on Edit

     Expectations, 24″w by 18″h, collage on canvas, part of the Redefining Walls series. 

  SOURCE, 36″ high by 48″ wide, 2017, part of the Reclaiming Walls Series, now sold

1-LIGHT AND LIFE Praying for the Dead Blue Cliff

A REMINDER TO MY READERS: ALWAYS CHECK PIP’S BLOG – IN THE CATEGORIES SECTION – FOR MY LATEST NEWS. HAPPY READING!

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King Billy cardPicasso House_8P1010405Prayer in 4 parts 2Prayer Wall in 4 Parts 3P1010143P1010153DSC_0283Lightness of Being4 QUEENS edited

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