Art reflects experience and much of what I have produced in the past has reflected my personal visual experience. In both my tile and vessel work, I have drawn from encounters with ancient Mediterranean monuments, Islamic architectural embellishments, Persian rug patterns, South Asian temple architecture, and East African material culture.
My work is motivated by concern for our contemporary world and current events. These pottery pieces are based on historic Middle Eastern forms. I wish to call attention to work that represents to me the great loss I feel, first for the human victims of the current conflict in that region, and second, for the lost, stolen, or destroyed antiquities which represent Humanities’ cradle of civilization.
Personal experiences besides my rich visual memory have shaped my perspective. In 1979 I saw the desperate faces of Palestinian children in a West-Bank refugee camp.In 1982 I worked with Afghan refugees in
Pakistan, and in 2001 I worked with Tutsi and Hutu Refugees from Burundi in North-Western Tanzania. I have not experienced war first hand, but these encounters have moved me to a place where I must do something with my work that has a positive impact and encourages those who feel trapped, oppressed and at the mercy of world powers acting out of self interest and not for the common good.
I grew up in a Mennonite community valuing peace and believing in non-resistance. This perspective linked with life overseas where it was easier to view the USA through others eyes, has made it difficult to accept a foreign policy that disregards concerns of our allies and squanders post-911 goodwill. Admitting our mistakes can be a first step toward healing the wounds of this conflict.
Continuing a policy of arrogance and unjustified aggression will only breed more hatred for the land we love.
I hope contemplation of this work encourages creative re-thinking of the path to security and peace.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”