Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
“I’m very excited to send this to you. It is a painting that became a mantra and a prayer.
“First, I love elephants. Their quiet and strong nature appeals to me. Also, their loyalty to family and incredible memory has always impressed me.
“I was going to use the image of my own eye to complete this project, but using the elephant seemed more powerful and inclusive of all the other creatures on Earth. Human beings must find a way to create peace in order for all other life to sustain itself.
“In this piece, narratives from several friends and family (including their thoughts about peace) were woven into the light and dark values of the elephant’s face. Most prominent is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, The Quest for Peace and Justice, given December 11, 1964. Songs by John Lennon and Cat Stevens (Imagine and Peace Train) are also interwoven amongst peace quotes from Walt Whitman, Amelia Earhart, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mary Oliver, Peace Pilgrim, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others. The most important narrative in this piece seems to be the thoughts I gathered from children.
“Essentially, I started by writing out the thoughts and stories of friends and family. Then I scribed the speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. into the majority of the piece. I darkened areas with shorter quotes (mostly those expressed by children). Examples include, ‘Live in peace’; ‘Anyone can do it’; ‘Love, just love’; and ‘I want it.’ I also wrote the word ‘peace’ over and over again. I must have written the word ‘peace’ over one thousand times. It was at these times the experience of completing this project became less about an exchange and more about a personal prayer, or mantra, for my own peace as well as others’.
“Although the original narrative was covered over often by the word ‘peace,’ there is comfort in knowing that MLK’s speech, and the words of all the contributed thoughts, poems, quotes, and songs are there.”
Best wishes to you,