After another (much worse) failure to indict, I was drawn to resurrect (ha, ha) this African Christ figure. It was something to do. There is the sense that there is no keeping up. There’s no keeping up with the tragedies. I set aside my Ferguson quilt to work on it.
It was so weird to Christmas shop this morning. As I walked along Rte. 9, I considered continuing east all the way to Boston. But — why? Why would I do that except to prove something to myself? Or to walk off confusion and despair? I was eating duck egg rolls in an Irish tavern in Brookline last night, unaware of the gathering in Boston. So maybe it would have been something closer to atonement? Taking in impressions of the day-after?
No. I went shopping. Bought a lot of chocolate. Made and then cancelled an appt. at the Apple store. Bought warm shirts or nice tees for everybody.
Back to the crucifixion (see how disjointed?!!) The figure was constructed a couple of years ago and I never really knew what to do with it. Back then, I drilled holes into the area around the head and so I could loop waxed linen and beads in. For the crown of thorns, I attached a wood pick thing that I found somewhere (I don’t know what it was).
For the torso and legs, I hammered wool roving to a fairly thick stick. There’s one rusty and long to represent the spear. If the nail is one original to our house, it dates back to the time of slavery.
I mounted the figure to a red slat, using a dried hosta stalk as arms. There were shrinky dink hands earlier, but I cracked one of them trying to orient them face up.
I found the rusty coil walking home from the mall — picked it up, wondering what it means to live in a society where some people are disposable.
This morning I tied a ribbon of burnt velvet around the neck and knotted it tightly. It was hard not to feel a little sick while doing so.
There are words under the body that came from an old quilt called “Valentine to Iraq”. On that quilt, I repeated the words, “All mothers of sons want them to live.” The fragment above ended up in a little composition by itself and is sized about right for the cross and figure. The only words here are : “of sons / want them”. They will not be visible unless you lift the body.
The indigo stripes along the bottom were started in South Carolina and finished here. I like the fact that the cloth spent some time on “Rebellion Farm”, so named because the Stono Slave Rebellion happened near or actually there, I don’t know which.
In keeping with the idea of a ‘house quilt’ that shows only a small piece of roof and all sky, I considered the quilt without the figure.
I ditched the hoodie idea — too cumbersome and obvious and it would have been horrible to stitch through. The hood would have required stuffing, too, to avoid the association with KKK hoods.
I like the butter soft linen better.
For the second time recently, I found myself thinking about outrage. Is it righteous? Self-righteous? Do I say stuff in an attempt to convince somebody of something? Or am I just needing to express that outrage? Can I trust my sources? More personally, what is it about African American suffering that has so gripped me, changed me, propelled me? Do I have to explain that? Or, apologize for that? Will this nightmare ever end? Will the protests make a positive difference (I hope so)? Are we in the middle of an “American Winter” — with social media changing everything (please, please)? If I were more spiritual, would I be better at letting go of ‘for’ and ‘against’?
Mostly, tonight, I think: Who gives a shit about upper-middle class discomfort at the moment… I offer it to you anyway.
Would you consider posting this on facebook? If not, would you mind if I simply share the link with friends?
I will i guess.
Thanks! I hope people make comments.
There was a 50 years of Peter, Paul & Mary on PBS the other night …
Showing up, marching, singing … they all made a difference once upon a time … not enough, it seems … but more than doing nothing ever did.
So we need to speak in order to be heard, say what is right, correct what is wrong … in blogs and social media and letters to editors and elected representatives … and in art.
Yes, thank you for speaking artfully …
Thank you for your acute sense of justice and your example in speaking out. Speaking is the only thing that will make a difference, even if it seems that at the moment no one hears.
Dee… I spent a lot of time reading this and the links this morning:
Maybe you have too. If not you might find something there…
We do need to speak out.
honouring listening working light into the dark
Dee, I understand your sense of wondering whether or not to say ‘something’ as I experience the same, and I think expressing in words and images as you do is valid and important. Because if you don’t it could almost be the same as saying you don’t care, I admit it is difficult finding the exact right way on how to say what you want to say, however the sharing is more important. Plus you share with us your doubts and deliberations and this figure you have created transcends where you’re from and where the victims of racism come from, we are all human beings and we all suffer because of what is happening.
Thank you for sharing this and making it possible for me to express my grief over what is wrong today.
Thank you all… Deb I haven’t traveled to the link yet, but I will. You all have read my blog for long enough to know I don’t write things like this for praise or for permission to think my thoughts or feel my feelings… but something interesting and wonderful and communal happens when I receive comments like yours. I think they give me hope.
To say nothing against wrong-doings is like pretending it never happened. Your words & thoughts make the rest of us around the world feel as though we are not alone in thinking the same way as you, and your voice along with others that speak up, gives me hope for humanity.