Monday, August 2, 2010

I Have to Confess - but this is just between us

I was all excited about posting this update, but then I realized the flash drive with the photo I wanted use is MIA. OMG!!! I am just hoping and praying that one of the dogs doesn't find it before I do.

I didn't plan to turn this blog into my confession but....

While I am committed to advancing peace with my work, especially via Cultural Fusion, I see as part of that process that I have face my own contradictions.
When my father died I was was charged with making the calls to his friends. One fellow, he said they were best friends - stands out in my memory because I had to bite my tongue. I still wonder exactly why he said what he said to me just before I ended the call.

"You know your Daddy and I agreed about a lot of things. One of them was that each race should stick to their own. Whites should marry whites and blacks marry blacks."

I didn't ask him why he was telling me this, but I wondered if my Dad had talked to him about me and my husband. Had my father told him how he felt about not being invited to our wedding?

Again I am reminded of how I was inspired to do the TimeLine...the seed of inspiration was found in my heart reaction to the fact that it took twenty-one years for our surviving parents to meet. And although this was not a matter of distance or anything that might make sense, within certain circles of the family, people like to pretend this means nothing and it just happened that way. Only when I started working on this piece did I finally get honest with myself about how I really felt about it all. At the end of the day I believe it is all connected and this will help me become a better person and a better artist.

Evolution in Feminist Art

Working on my feminist art essay over the weekend I realized why the TimeLine installation has struck deep resonating chord that harkens back to the start of Cultural Fusion. That is because it points again to the project and question "what is peace?" that officially got Cultural Fusion Art as Philosophy underway.

In working on the essay I was reminded of how the expected dialogue about the divides is like a dog chasing its tail. A great deal of energy is conserved for better use by realizing the source of the tail in motion which is being chased.

My friend and co-founder in Cultural Fusion reminded me of something quite significant about resistance. That resistance is the fuel for change. For example, by resisting the status quo of the day the Civil Rights Movement was able to encourage change within the system it was resisting.

I see the same issue arising in my contemplation about feminism and feminist art in contrast to black feminist and humanitarianism. While realizing that the feminist movements most noticeable contribution to the south has been legal and policy changes on domestic violence and violence against women, it was the civil rights, diversity and affirmative action policies that had/have the most significant impact on the lives of women of color.

I believe that is because of these underlying realities that resulted in most feminist art's failure to speak to audiences of marginalized people not systemically embraced by mainstream feminism. In addition, the dominate culture of the south has not been conducive to the messages espoused in the most accessible feminist art. One reason is that it contradicts many of the patriarchal assumptions that prevail in the bible-belt.

The breakthrough afforded by the TimeLine project has been that my understanding of proximity of ideas in a given space has taken on an unexpected depth. In this piece I am exploring, among other things, how I can personally co-exist with people I support and those I not only disagree with but actively resist.

While on my trip in S.C. a couple of weeks ago I was confronted again with exchanging pleasantries with people I know are active supporters of the old confederacy and carrying its legacy forward. To my mind these people are terrorists and terrorist supporters but that thinking does not help me in my mission of peace building.

With "what is peace?" I began defining the foundation of Cultural Fusion as an art series. Rather than labeling as right or wrong - through TimeLine I am endeavoring to engage increasing numbers of people in contributing to my understanding of the connection between personal and public history. It is my hope that the piece and the interactivity that takes shape will help more of us to understand how the personal creates the public and how the way one life is lived impacts others. History cast a shadow on the present and creates the foundation for the future. If we don't make sense of our history then we carry that confusion, anger, hatred, and denial into the future. Peace through Art is definitely a possibility for the individual but how do we expand that to include the world?

That is part of the history, the history of love, peace and progress - to be included in the TimeLine art piece....noting that it does not exist in isolation.

I will be inviting a few of my friends to join the TimeLine Group to begin contributing events in the next week or so, if you would like to be invited as well please let me know.

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