i am swept away.
a simple idea. a small certain box.
the over whelming willingness of so many participants
to ride this compassionate wave of generosity.
the shrines arrive.
they speak so eloquently of honoring loved ones,
hope, mystery, humor, the dualities of life.
a student from my art unraveled mosaic and soldering classes
traveled home and invited her entire high school art students to create shrines!
meri arnett-kremian is ruminating and writing about her process here.
jill berry is hosting a shrine sisters party at her home.
now meet debbi mc cullough.
an artist that took my soldering class at art unraveled.
it is interesting to learn what brings certain students to your classes.
debbi's purpose struck a resounding cord in my heart.
i will simply share her bio as her work speaks strongly for itself.
Art for Social Justice, Tucson, AZ.
Since August 2004, my art has dealt exclusively with the plight of migrants. I am a mixed media artist who volunteers with two organizations that offers aid to migrants crossing through the deadly Arizona desert. (see http://www.samaritanpatrol.org/ http://www.borderlinks.org/bl/index.htm and http://www.nomoredeaths.org/) With others, I walk trails carrying water, food and medical supplies. I walk the washes and paths that migrants walk searching for those who are lost, injured or left behind by their group. I hear of their weariness, their excitement, anxiety and anticipation. As I walk along, I pick up pieces of clothing, mementos and photos that were left. I imagine the people as they part with some of these things. I wonder at the sacrifice they are making to help those who are still at home. At the end of my short time in the desert, as the dust is washed from my clothes and I return to my daily routine, the memories of those walks stay with me and I am driven to create a piece of art. This is work of a spiritual nature for me. It is a way to connect with my moral center. It is a way to reach out and tie my awareness to others who will never walk those trails or see the dirty, strained faces of women and children. My life has been profoundly and permanently changed by my involvement in this situation. I am humbled by the risks and sacrifices taken to come to the United States in order to work. I ask, “How far would you walk to feed your family?”
i love that debbi simply asks this one question of us.
for it is the single most compelling reason many villagers, who cherish their families and their way of life beyond measure make this heart breaking decision. the hope (we all share) to provide a better life for our families. i have been out in the villages...far beyond the lively zocalos, where the meals for days on end is served from the same enamel pot of beans sitting on a wood fire, eaten with warm tortillas. in a small one room house woven out of branches, branches that let in the moon light and let out the swirling smoke from mornings fire, weaving themselves together, content to hold the tender voices of the families within.
and when a total stranger chances by, a stranger by language, colour, clothes, lifestyle....there is no hesitation. the stranger is welcomed in to share the only food they have.
i have been that stranger. i have knelt on that dirt floor and learned to grind the fat soaking kernels of corn into sun gold masa. i have, to the sounds of bright laughter, fashioned tortillas to lay mis shapen on the hot comal to warm beside the perfect circles of even the youngest of my hosts. their welcome, their inclusion of me and the willingness to share all of what little they had fills my soul to this day.
as your shrines arrive they are like flames of hope. they are our offering, our moment of taking in a "stranger" and offering a bowl of possibilities.
there is no end to the opportunities in each unfolding moment to make a difference in this world we share. in the natural course of each day there will be many moments, many causes that are needing to be filled. it is more the willingness to see a need and genuinely respond. be it a comforting word, a meal shared, a shrine created. to be compassionate is to live in a compassionate world.
in a compassionate world, there are no strangers.