What do we choose to remember and what do we choose to forget? And why? I suspect that we gravitate towards good/positive memories because they help to preserve a peaceful state of mind. While unhappy memories can lead to feeling discontent or agitated. But what of the in-between place, the gray, if you will of forgetting and remembering? Which lead me to thinking where is the in-between place that captures, holds and preserves memories. For me, the answer is Art; I have made art my whole entire life. Even if I only had a piece of paper and pencil, I used it to give form to that which was in my mind. My artwork contains all the gray in-between, forgetting and remembering. Art Objects hold the past present and future simultaneously. For example, when we experience the Mona Lisa (painted 1503 – 06), we are seeing the past – presently and then we carry the memory of her into the future within our minds. This connected me to the thought that we are all simultaneously carrying every past, present and future memory within our beings. It is all within us recorded in every living and dying cell within our bodies. The future might feels more abstract in that it is hard to imagine because we have not witnessed it yet. However, the moment we see the future it instantly becomes the past. So in essence the future is always happening and it is just waiting for us to see it.
“Recall” is what we have named having the ability to pull something up from our memories. Recall can be used to protect us from repeating bad choices. And with the up and coming presidential election upon us we are all each and every one of us responsible for making a choice. We get to elect our next president, which is a great freedom. One not to be taken lightly or dismissed by claiming “I” have no power . As we United States citizens move towards electing a new president the importance of using ones recall of memory is essential.
It is also necessary to consider that our collective state of mind makes manifest what reality we end up getting/seeing. We get to decide our future. Which leads me to my main point: During the George W. Bush presidency my entire being felt disjointed by the constant bombardment of “fear speak,” which dominated the airwaves. The actual voice of that fear was more often than not the voice of President Bush himself (Here, is where I ask that you use your ability to recall). Collectively, upon President Bush’s leadership we moved to war. We went to war based upon the fear of presumed weapons of mass destruction and history has since revealed that there were none. The outcome of that action, based upon fear, has resulted in many many years of continuous war. If you are old enough to recall you will remember that fear was the motivating factor that lead our nation into war. Today, sons and daughter and husbands and wives continue to die all around the planet because fear was so greatly amplified and acted upon by us as a nation.
Presently, we have another man who is running for president and if you listen to him speak you hear FEAR SPEAK. He is amplifying fear just as President Bush did. Fear only ever begets more fear because that is the nature of fear. Fear is also one of the greatest human made illusion used by tyrants when striving for power. For whatever the reason, collectively we choose to forget this heartbreaking repetition, which desperately needs to be remembered. Please take a moment to pause and learn, remember, and recall why it is that we are at war and why we have been at war and why war exists period. Yes, there are many layers to war including greed, and other complexities too but that is a whole other story.
Choices made from fear will continue to perpetuate more fear and when fear drives ones emotion we start to divide and perceive our selves and the others as separate and not united or the same. What I have learned from the war on terror is that more than ever we need to be united as a people, country and world. We must learn the universal truth that all people sprang forth from this one world which unites us all into one human race. The amplification of fear will not get us there. A presidential candidate who’s main story is that of perpetuating fear will never end the war on terror he will strengthen the will of the other to measure us as the enemy and war will continue because that is what fear does. The evidence is recorded within humankind’s memories. We carry all the wars from all time within our blood. Remember Remember Remember.
Love, compassion and education need to be remembered and acted upon. Love begets more love because that is the nature of love. This concept in word and theory may sound simplistic but it is not. Think about the person you love most in the world and being in a fight with that person. While in the fight you are each suffer great sorrow. Then imagine looking deeply at the anger and sorrow and you will see the root, which is fear. What allows one to move past the anger, sorrow and fear? I hope you will remembered that it was your love of the other that caused you to forgive and move past the fight. Now apply that same story to sets of couples, small groups, neighborhoods, cities, states, nations, and countries. Again, look deeply and you will see that we are all people wanting and needing the same love and forgiveness that all people need to grown and prosper. People are people and love is love, neither is defined by boundaries nor borders. We are limitless in our potential and our greatest humanity is born when we collectively aspire towards the good of all humankind. Not when we teach fear, or act out of fear, or build walls and separate us from the other. No, all of that divides people. Stop forgetting to remember that we call ourselves human(kind) not human(mean).
I’m sharing paintings that I created during the second term of George W. Bush to help you remember to recall what happens when fear drives the world. I painted all of the Stars and Stripes the Deception Series in about one month. These are my memories… the remembering, forgetting and the in-between.
Please choose hope speak and not fear speak. Then in your own voice amplify your hope speak in every way that you can. Remember hope creates and fear kills. Open your ears, listen deeply and act from your whole being. When you do you will find that you are moving and acting and receiving and giving to the world from a place of love and compassion. Love Love Today.
This is Night Cry the first of 15 oil paintings, I painted all 15 paintings in a one month period shortly after the second election of President George W. Bush.
At the time that I painted this painting, I felt that I had been under constant pressure to express my patriotism. Post 9/11 the American flag was in every ones face, at all times. It seemed that every where I look there was the American flag. Being an American and loving American in all of out greatness and flaws, a patriot one could say, I too loved the flag. However, at the time I did not feel that I was a part of the dream that was unravelling. I did not feel patriotic, I felt frustrated and voiceless.
This first painting Night Cry came to me in a dream. The night sky became the stars of our united states and the red and white striped picnic blanket unraveled beneath me. I’m me (but not me as one can be in dreams) seated next to a void of a person. And though he was not there I could feel him sitting next to me. Heat radiated from the void like laying next to a naked lovers body. The void of the man holding the empty space felt to me to be the love of my life. I felt so completely happy to have him near though he was gone, I wept for the loss and presence of him. My tears dripped to my one naked foot and from the top of that foot poppies began to grow, in fast motion from my tears. My one shoed foot was like a weight tethering me to the earth. Holding me back from evaporating into the void of the man. I’m clutching a canary in my left had afraid to let it escape me. It does not sing and I fear that I’m holding it too tight but I don’t let go. In the void man’s mind black crows wait on a wire, I can’t tell if they are coming or going. The top of my head swirls into a twister caused by the flapping wings of an approaching crow veiled by the night sky. I’m at once drawn into the wonder of my blooming foot while trying to escape the fear of my head becoming a twister. While I read the tattoo carved into clouds scaring the back of my voided lost loved one. His tattoo poem reads, “Play Fear Loud What Else Will Keep Down Hope Free Will Must Cost Gold Link Loss.” Then I awoke from the dream crying. My heart breaking from all the crazy killing and loss of loved ones caused by war. Deconstructing the American flag became a theme and it was my way to express my discontent and opposition to the war.