SFAI140 – a challenge, a joy, a connection

SFAI140* challenged me to step up to the plate. I have done speaking about my work before, but having to distill my thoughts down to 140 seconds and convey them succinctly with timed images, took it to a whole other level. It was fun and gave me a sense of accomplishment. I appreciated the opportunity to be on the stage with some real pros and to meet the other presenters.

It was a pleasure to discover that fellow speaker and historical preservation architect Shawn Evans was acutely interested in the Santa Fe Interment Camp. He took my 1951 map of the Casa Solana neighborhood that had the internment camp placement on it and layered it over a current map. The two of us walked through the area of where the camp once was, looking at trees that may have been planted there. It was a bittersweet experience wandering around with him and discussing his feelings about living in the area with this history. If I were to come back he thought he could help me with having talks in the Casa Solana schools and community.

Many Native people spoke with me about their experiences with the camps, including a young woman who was inspired to go see the marker and go to the other NM camps, and a man who said his Native uncle was picked up and put into the Santa Fe Camp because he was mistaken for being Japanese.

After hearing me speak a Santa Fe gallery invited me to be on a panel on healing war trauma with creativity.

Speaking from the heart, expressing  your thoughts and what is important to you, is a challenge to accept and seek out. You never know where it can lead you.

*SFAI140 is an event that Santa Fe Art Institute puts on a couple times a year. They invite their residents and leaders in the community to speak for 140 seconds with 6 timed slides.

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Jungle night life

Who knows what goes on in the dark? Well we have a better idea after going on a night hike in Monte Verde, Costa Rica.

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A group of 14 of us, (including an infant), tramped up and down hills with flashlights for 3 hours. Costa Rican guide Alex was a terrific spotter, and a funny guy. Surprisingly we came upon a fair amount of critters. I know we would have never seen the viper in strike position on the tree branch on our own. We wouldn’t have known Mrs. Tarantula was in that hole in the dirt. And I finally got to see a sloth in the wild! The two toed variety was hanging upside down munching down on leaves.

My partner almost got lost when he was videoing leaf cutter ants on his hands and knees. He accidentally joined another tour group in the dark. After I yelled his name to no avail, our guide had to go retrieve him. After that episode our leader started counting our group every few minutes.

In addition to the sloth, the other exciting furry mammals we got to spy on were olingo, kinkajou, and coati – kinda raccoon-monkey-catlike beings that were all crawling around high up in the trees. Then there were the lizards, frogs, and lightning bugs.

It was all a great time running around in the dark like in a “Blair Witch” movie episode,
but more educational and fun!

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Kinkajou

Light and honor the dark season with artmaking

 Light and honor the dark season with artmaking

The living and the dead join together

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An atmospheric space in-between worlds is glimpsed in this installation. Fragments of sound from crickets, voices of monks and Japanese instruments envelope Japanese lanterns, womanly silhouettes and floating deteriorating kimonos.  Obake Yashiki or Ghost House, is a dwelling place of spirits that continue to haunt us. They cannot find their peaceful resting place due to tragic occurrences during their lifetimes. The exhibition calls attention to women around the world whose lives have been taken due to earthly disasters and violent human interaction. We honor the spirits who are trapped between life and death in hopes they may find peace and resolution.

This was the statement for Obake Yashiki (Ghost House), A multi-media installation by Amar Chaudhary, Priscilla Otani, and Judy Shintani at Arc Gallery in San Francisco.

At our closing we were graced with the awesome Butoh dancers, Hiroko and koichi Tamano, who brought Butoh performance to the United States in the ’70s.  They performed with their student troupe Earth Child. Their amazing interpretation of our installation created a whole new way of experiencing the space. Time stood still as they took command of the gallery and we all watch, mesmerized.

I have to say it was a dream come true for me to see my kimonos dancing with the Butoh performers and to have the kimono flowers and leaves thrown in the air, releasing them from their altars. I had to smile when I saw people picking up the pieces as souvenirs.

New and updated classes at Kitsune Community Art Studio

Interactive public art for kids

I’m always looking for innovative public art, especially the kind that is interactive. Just this week two caught my eye in my Facebook stream.

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© Masaki Koizumi

Artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam created a crocheted gallery sized installation that kids couldn’t help but  interact with. Next thing you know, she and her husband Charles MacAdam established Interplay Design and Manufacturing in Nova Scotia, Canada, to develop the concept of play ‘sculptures’ on a commercial scale. Check out more here: http://www.treehugger.com/culture/artist-crochets-playgrounds-children.html

Then my friend, artist, and professor Wendy Maruyama shared work of her UC San Diego former students Lanie Gannon and Rob Oglivie. Here is a video of their wonderful interactive mechanical art installed at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, TN.

Interestingly enough both installations are low tech and are great examples of ways that artists really catered to the spirit of children.

Another cool Seattle summer activity

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So much to do in Seattle. I’m putting this on my list for next time.

Seattle’s World Famous Trailer Park Market
vintage.indie.funk.handmade.custom.art
SUMMER HOURS: Saturday 11am-6PM
Thursday 11-2: Where Ya at Matt Creole Soul Food
947 Doris Street, Seattle Wash 98108

Check out more here: http://www.georgetowntrailerpark.com/