While walking at the Baker Wetlands a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to see a line of more than 50 pelicans making their way across the sky, single file. I’m always amazed when I see pelicans in Kansas, their presence feels so improbable here. I had been making sketchbook-drawings of origami cranes as a kind of meditation during this crazy time. But with pelicans on my mind, I thought it would be fun to fold and draw an origami pelican, too. I made a drawing of the pelican in ballpoint pen first, and then made it again in scratchboard.
I am excited to have an exhibit of mosaics, scratchboard, and drawings at the Carriage Factory Gallery in Newton, Kansas! The exhibit runs July 27 – September 20, and is located at 128 E. 6th St., near downtown Newton. Gallery hours: T-F 12-5pm, Sa 10am-5pm.
I am exhibiting my art along with two others, Rachel Epp Buller and Emily Willis Schroeder. The title for our collective exhibit is, Our Lives. Past. Present. Future. My portion of the exhibit is called, “Sound the Climate Alarm,” and my artist statement follows:
Sound the Climate Alarm
In my exhibit of drawings and mosaics, cardinals honk and chickadees sing razor wire. Death chases a prairie chicken with a blaring saxophone. Animals, drawn from memory, reveal the loss we find when we are without them. Origami cranes, an international symbol for peace, fly over walls and meander through chain link fences. And yet, archways that imply the presence of barriers also show a way to pass through them. The cardinal’s song is visually amplified as a message of hope and renewal. A car with loudspeakers on top blasts an unusual wish for the world. With a sense of beauty and compassion, through images that visualize sounds that are both real and imagined, my work “sounds the alarm” on climate change, animal extinction, and other urgent concerns, encouraging the viewer to “listen” with an open heart towards creating a future where there is enough to share and compassion for all.
All are invited to the opening reception for the Lawrence Art Center’s 2018 Benefit Art Auction on March 9, 2018, from 7-9pm (940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, KS.) I contributed Windmill this year, a whimsical little scratchboard piece with a few color highlights. If you’d like to bid on it or another auction-piece, you can do so in person through the auction-event on April 14 (tickets needed), or bid on-line at the arts center’s on-line bidding link.
The 2017-pack of cards includes art by Lana Grove, Maya Weslander, Brisa Andrade, Chelsea Karma McKee, Johnna Harrison, and Elijah Jackson. All of the submissions will be on display this week at the library.
You can pick up a new trading card every day this week at the library, starting today (Sunday September 24, 2017) through Saturday. My card will go out tomorrow!
My banned book submission celebrates Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, by F. Arturo Rosales (Arte Publico Press, 1996). Chicano! is one of seven specific texts that were banned from classrooms in Tucson, Arizona, in 2012. Additional books and teaching materials were also confiscated. The books were banned when the Tucson Unified School District eliminated the Mexican American Studies program in response to a controversial state law meant to curtail ethnic studies programs. The law was widely understood to target the Tucson program.
I chose to highlight a book that would draw attention to this egregious case of government censorship. Although Banned Books Week often celebrates novels and well-known classics, scholarly books like Chicano! are sometimes banned, too, and I wanted to show this. I turned the tables a bit with my image, too. Instead of portraying a story that occurs within the book, my image portrays the book itself within the story of its banning. My illustration shows a student protesting the banning of ethnic studies, with the book on her protest sign. Her mouth is taped, a potent image used by students in their protests against the ban.
Rosales wrote Chicano! to accompany a four-part television series by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which aired the programs in 1996. Both are heralded as providing the most comprehensive account of the Mexican American civil rights movement, a movement whose stories are, as Rosales notes, “practically untold.” It was interesting for me to imagine the elimination of the Mexican American Studies program in Tucson, and the protests over it, as a new chapter in Rosales’s book.
Chicano! was pulled from classrooms as a result of Arizona state law HB 2281, which prohibits public and charter school courses that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment towards a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” An independent audit of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies program found it to be in compliance with the law and recommended its expansion. But the Tucson school district’s superintendent, along with officials from the Arizona Department of Education, decided the program was not in compliance, and the program was cut. The program was in limbo for many years, with some parts reinstated, as a challenge to the law made its way through the courts.
I am happy to report that in August of 2017, just last month, a judge found that Tuscon’s Mexican American Studies Program was a victim of ‘racial animus,” and proclaimed the Arizona state law to be unconstitutional.
–Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by F. Arturo Rosales (Arte Publico Press, 1997)
–University at Albany website http://www.albany.edu/jmmh/vol3/chicano/chicano.html
I am pleased to have this illustration in Lawrence Magazine for a story about the Douglas County Corrections Facility’s writing program, in its current issue (Winter 2016). Tonight, December 5, 2016, there will be a related poetry reading and exhibit at the Lawrence Public Library, 7pm.
Here is a link to Lawrence Magazine on line. Find the story “Taking On Life” on p. 73, an artist profile of me on p. 33, and my illustration on pp. 76-77.