Over the last 4 months, while I have been awaiting my new art studio in Waco, Texas to be built, I have been working on thoughts behind my next series of work. I am a story teller. I use my art, in a contemporary abstract style to create a voice through imagery. Every series, or body of work I create revolves around a specific expression of our personal journeys and the tension that exists throughout our cultural existence.
We all live within areas of tension in our own cultures. That tension can come from our family, our economic background, our neighborhood or city, our political affiliations or religious surroundings and of course by the color of ones skin. All of these culture defining characteristics operate through cosmos and chaos, some of them we have control within and others our out of our control. Through my bodies of work, I share these thoughts and stories from my memories, and studies, taking the viewer on a journey in my sea of thought. I want to hear your experiences within these tensions.
Over the last few days, as my country begins to tear at its seams, and division becomes a household conversation my temperament as Madeline L’engle says, “seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling…….It is a frightening thing to open oneself to the strange and dark side of the divine; it means letting go our sane self-control, that control which gives us the illusion of safety. But safety is only an illusion, and letting go of it is part of listening to the silence, and to the Spirit.”
I have been listening to the silence in the midst of the noise. The silence is asking me to tell the stories of those in the struggle. As a white American male, I have only a small, extremely small taste of being a minority, being persecuted for my religious beliefs and witnessing the effects of hate, pure and evil hate. (to clarify: not in America) I have lived in other cultures around the world. I have lived in Communist cultures and have been persecuted and followed by police daily in that culture for my religious beliefs. I was harassed and provoked, as they wanted me to become violent. If I had, I have no doubt I would have disappeared and been imprisoned. I cannot even imagine the fear I had in those moments being a part of everyday life for someone. I worked in Rwanda with orphans of the Genocide months after the genocide had ended. I saw what the effects of real evil and hate towards others looks like in the faces of children. These children who were raped, beaten, and observed their families being slaughtered.
I know what it feels like to be powerless in the hands of another, I was raped and sexually abused as a child. This is something I am often silent about, but in order to have impact, to have a voice, to listen well, we all must be vulnerable and transparent with another and so I am opening my past, my life to you, in hopes you will do the same with me. Some of us have witnessed the devastation of human beings, and have been held captive to it as well. These moments make us who we are, and our stories together build strength. We know what exists inside and outside of our fragmented cultures and we know where these wounds can go without healing. We, the broken, know the importance of that healing.
For my next series of work, I want to tell the stories of those who experience hate, violence, racial prejudice, or religious persecution. I am asking for individuals to be bold and share their story with me. My voice is my canvas and I want people to observe with new and different eyes what others have to live with, in the best way I know how, through art.
Share your story with me, you need to be known, because you are known.
My series will be titled “Someone is Listening” because I am listening. I am praying. You can share your story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org