I stand before you a stranger in a land grown strange.
I am currently collaborating with poet Ginny Hoyle on work that addresses the role of the artist during this challenging time for the country. The work began earlier this year in response to the change in leadership at the White House. We incorporate the cultural iconography and ornamental work from around the world with an impulse to celebrate the richness and diversity of visual language—and to offer an antidote to the current atmosphere of fear and hatred of those who are different from us. The work hopes to reaffirm how we are all human and valuable, in spite of—and because of—our differences. In a sense it is a creative update of the work done in the nineteenth century by Owen Jones, who sailed the world documenting visual language from each culture, eventually publishing the book “The Grammar of Ornament” in 1868. Long before international travel became easy and relatively affordable, his work gave people a glimpse of the richness of cultures around the world. It is time for an update, in which we celebrate the humanness and joy of life and recognize visual language as a way to connect with those who might be different from us.
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