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Blog Entries tagged 'peace'

The One Thing

I just read a blog post about the importance of specifity on one's blog. You should focus on the one thing you do, the one message you have, the one idea you want your readers to take away.

Which made me think, and look down at all my blog posts to try to find the one thing, the big idea, the one message. 

What is it, exactly, I'm saying over here? Why do people visit? What are you looking for? How do I provide it? 

And it came down to a basic credo:

Clarity. Courage. Faith. Freedom. 

That's my message, told a million different ways. 

See your truth. Tell your truth. Believe in the power of your truth. And then, fly, fly away.

Be free.

April 13th, 2009

Baby Wars

April 9th, 2009

Today

April 1st, 2009

Monographs, from Readerville

Hey--here's a nice bunch of sentences I strung together on Readerville, one of my favorite literary sites.

Monographs

In the life I didn’t choose, I am a photographer and installation artist. I make striking objects that live in a space beyond words. In the life I chose, I write books about houses and people and feelings, but I reach for my Yashica Mat camera to capture that which cannot be transcribed. I photograph my son like Sally Mann captured her kids, running wild in the nude. I try to photograph myself like Lorna Simpson would, in a white dress, from behind, with one hand pouring water from a pewter pitcher and the other pouring water from a plastic jug. I dream of building a life-sized southern shack like the ones I used to pass on the side of the road in Georgia, when I was a little girl, driving to the family cemetery.

I’m no longer surprised when I open a box that’s been taped shut for years, and find an artist’s monograph on top. A few books down, I’ll find catalogs from shows that were up at MOMA when I was an intern. I was sixteen then, sitting in front of Mark Rothko’s paintings for hours. I’ve tried to give these books away, to sell them, anything to keep from carrying them to another apartment, another country, but I can’t. I need them. 

Ana Mendieta: Earth Body
How to describe Ana Mendieta? She was a Cuban-American artist who made kick-ass, sensual, outrageously smart and seductive work. I love the Silueta series--Mendieta paints her body to blend into/become various pieces of earth. She is a tree, a body of lava scorching the earth, dirt in an open grave with flowers sprouting from her skin.

Her performance pieces are brave: she walks to the wall and slides her bare hands down it, leaving two red smears. She stops, walks away, and we’re looking: it’s a vagina, it’s a gash, it’s Ana’s mark on the art world, her X in the history of art.

Artwork by Shirin Neshat
When I came back to the states after living in a Muslim country, Shirin Neshat’s work explained everything to me: the power of the feminine in Islamic culture; the powerlessness of the feminine in Islamic culture. The hopelessness of the idea of “Islamic culture.” The way faith and art and desire come together to form something like a drug for the human soul. Beloved, a photograph of mother and son, mother covered in hijab, son held close to the breast, is heart stopping. The baby sits in the folds of the hijab. And to the left of the mother and child, the Muslim pieta, there is a gun.

Seydou Keita
I don’t remember where I first saw Keita’s portraits, or heard about the man who made photographs in a small studio in Bamako, Mali, for decades before being “discovered” by Western collectors. I do know that I wanted to buy his work the second I saw it. His work captures so much about Africa and modernity and style and colonialism and independence and youth and art and vibrancy, I can barely stand to talk about it. I bought two large prints when I sold my first book. He died a few years later.

Yayoi Kusama: Love Forever
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama makes her art at a studio a few blocks from the mental hospital in which she has lived, by choice, since the early 1970s. “If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago,” Kusama has said, and I understand. Her work is feminine, sprawling, heroic, psychedelic, minimalist, absurd and fecund. She works in polka dots, giant nets and huge pumpkins. Yayoi visits conventional reality, but doesn’t live there.

The Art of Bill Viola
Man on fire. Man drenched in water. Man shifting through time, space and the elements, on a thin video screen, with sound. A man comes in and out of being before our very eyes. Genius. I love BV.

I could go on and on. Bill Eggleston, Gauguin, Paul Strand, Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes! Odd shelf after odd shelf. 

To Readerville

 

February 23rd, 2009

The Family That Argues Together...

My post today on Jewcy:

Today my guy told me about a bit Jon Stewart did on why Jews argue. Apparently, a "reporter" goes and asks a bunch of Jews why they argue all the time, and they start arguing about who should answer the question and whether Jews argue any more than anyone else.

We both cracked up because, well, I like to tend to argue and my son's father doesn't. I've been trying to stop and it's the hardest thing ever. Way harder than probability and statistics class in high school, and a quibillion times harder than the LSAT I took a few years months ago when I was thinking about going to law school. It's so hard that I've often wondered if I have a neurological tic that turns even the simplest request into a passionate, two-hour debate.

In the beginning of our relationship, I explained it was cultural. It's a Jewish thing, I told my mate-to-be. We have strong opinions about everything. You should see us at the dinner table, I said. No one agrees on anything--where we should sit, whether the lighting is too bright or too dim, if the food is overpriced or genius, if my sister should cut her hair. Our willingness to dig deep over trivial matters is a sign of commitment, I told him. It shows we care enough to engage at a deep level.

Arguing, I said. It's how we love.

To which he replied, I'm not Jewish and I don't like to argue because it raises my blood pressure and I want to have a calm, peaceful life. You can go out into the world and argue your a** off, but for God's sake, when you come home, can't we just get along?

Which, in my argumentative state of mind (tangentially related to Billy Joel's New York Jewish state of mind, btw) sounded like: Jews are crazy, can't you just be normal and not Jewish when you're at home? Which made me mumble something about him not liking Jews, which was awful, inaccurate, and the furthest thing from the truth.

But I was arguing. Who said I had to be rational? Terrible logic, I know. A heinous lapse. I'm still apologizing.

But back to Jon Stewart and laughing together about the pop cultural confirmation of what I've been saying all along. No, I wasn't bat mitzvahed. No I don't speak Yiddish or Hebrew. But yes, yes, I love a good back and forth. So sue me. 

Ironically, it was a great moment. A love moment. A moment of acceptance. A cross-cultural moment. A moment of peace. A, dare I say it, family moment.

 

February 19th, 2009

We Refuse to Be Enemies

By Leila Segal, from her blog The Other Side

Refuse3

Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies, the placard reads.

"An anti-war march, Saturday, through the streets of Tel Aviv. Pro-war shouters collect like flies along the side of the route - the Magav keeps them surrounded, but sometimes they're a nose-distance away, fist-thrashing and enraged. We move from Rabin Square along Ibn Gvirol to the Cinemateque, Arab and Jewish Israelis, side-by-side. Stop the killing. We want a different future for our peoples - a future of peace, we chant.

More

February 8th, 2009

Obama on Al Arabiya: We Are Family

January 28th, 2009

Woman: The Ballad of John and Yoko

Yoko's love for John and John's love for Yoko was the heart at the center of their own personal peace movement. Both artists, they influenced each other, creating an alchemical effect bigger than either one could achieve on their own. From my perspective, theirs was a true partnership-- transgressive and transcendent and transformative, a love story for all time.

 

I stumbled upon these videos while reading Cara at Curvature's fascinating  feminist analysis of Yoko.

Double Fantasy

January 11th, 2009

Oscar Grant: Wake Up America

"Those who eulogized Grant did not address the shooting, which was captured on video by at least two BART riders and has stirred outrage among those who believe the incident was tantamount to an execution. At virtually the moment the service was getting under way, the lawyer and union representative for the officer who shot Grant, Johannes Mehserle, were submitting his resignation to BART officials."

January 8th, 2009

Grieving the loss of Ismael, Lama, and Hayya

And I am thinking about Ayda, and wondering what I or anyone else can do to help the mothers of murdered children everywhere. 

from the New York Times:

But there were several children in another intensive care unit on Tuesday. Among them was Ismael Hamdan, 8, who had severe brain damage as well as two broken legs, according to a doctor there. Earlier that day, two of his sisters, Lama, 5, and Hayya, 12, were killed.

“I prepared them breakfast that day in the garden,” said their mother, Ayda, 36. “They had the tea, bread and thyme. Lama wanted a second pita, but we all teased her saying, ‘Keep it for lunch.’ She told us, ‘Don’t worry, God will provide us with bread.’

“She made all of us laugh,” the mother said. “I cleaned after them and collected the garbage. Ismael volunteered to dump the garbage, but Hayya and Lama joined him. The garbage can is in front of the house, a five-minute walk away. All of a sudden I heard the news from a neighbor, and I ran barefoot to the hospital. A relative collected the bodies of Lama and Hayya on a donkey cart.

“The neighbors ran trying to save Ismael, who was the only one breathing,” she said. “They say my kids flew 40 meters before hitting the ground.”

Ismael died Wednesday night.

January 1st, 2009