Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Portland Peace March 2008

I cannot believe that another year has gone by and we are still at war in Iraq, tragically our five year anniversary. Like-minded thinkers joined together again in solidarity to march for peace on Sunday in Portland. In the little over an hour that we marched it was sunny, it rained, it hailed, it rained and it was sunny and blue skies once again as my pictures reflect, but so goes Portland! There was a tremendous turnout once again and let us all put our intentions together in the hopes of a peaceful future and that we will not have to join again together next year.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Portland Peace Rally 2007

March 18, 20007 I participated in a peace march that marked four long senseless years fighting the war in Iraq, a war that was disguised as a fight for national security but was in fact a war about power, oil and revenge. You can view some of my photos from that rally that are included in http://wordonthestreets.org/ under the link for Portland. This website includes photographs taken by humanitarians from around the world marching in the name of peace.
This Saturday will be the five year anniversary with horrifically no end in sight. I will once again join like minded peace seekers in solidarity to rally against the war in downtown Portland. Please join me at 2 p.m. at the South Park Blocks, SW Madison and Park, for a WORLD WITHOUT WAR A DAY OF RESISTANCE AND HOPE TO STOP THE WAR AND BRING TROOPS HOME NOW! I will be there camera in hand to attempt to capture the essence of the humanitarian response to the war in Iraq.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Portland State University Iraq Body Count Installation

As I walked on Broadway toward Portland State University, my destination the International Women's Day Fair, I was somehow drawn to take a detour onto Park. As I approached the South Park Blocks, I was overcome by a vision in the distance of fields and fields of what seemed to be red and white tulips. I was astounded by these colorful flowers, that seemed to emerge from the ground over night. As I got closer and closer, I realized that these were not flowers but in fact small red and white flags. Crouched on the ground were a dozen people "planting" these small flags. As I approached, a voice from the ground asked me if I would like to "honor the dead" and I was handed a "bouquet" of white flags on rusty stems. I too crouched in prayer as I quietly and meditatively planted flags to memorialize those Iraqis killed in the war to date. Each white flag represented 5 Iraqis killed and each red flag represented 5 Americans killed. Since 2003, 655,000 Iraqis and 3,972 Americans have been killed in this senseless war. The contrast was astounding. As I complete my planting I rose and thanked the woman for inviting me to participate in this moving installation. I felt so deeply overwhelmed and touched to the core of my being as I gazed into my blood-like rust covered palms. I felt ashamed to be a part of an American people that beyond my control has chosen war, yet I felt honored and empowered that I choose to be a humanitarian that lives with peace in her heart and in her actions. Somehow I believe that acts that honor peace have a far reaching impact on humanity and in the world. I continued on to the Women's fair forever changed.

Let Your Voice be Heard

Congress needs to know what you think of the Iraq War. Please take five minutes to call or write a letter today!

There is much dissagreement about what should be done about the war in Iraq, but the most important thing is that your congressperson hears from you. Call or write their offices weekly, or as often as you feel the need.

To contact your U.S. Senators, go here.

To Contact your U.S. Representatives, go here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Remarkable Women at Janovec Gallery

To celebrate Women’s History Month,
the Oregon chapter of the Women’s Caucus exhibit members art focused on the REMARKABLE WOMEN in their lives. Famous, infamous, personal, or nationally known, women have influenced our lives and our art. This show will highlight these connections. The show is dedicated to the new mural in N Portland on Interstate Avenue, “Women Making History in Portland will”. Women who worked on the mural will be at the opening, and photos of the mural and its history will also be displayed. This exhibit will include one of my sculptures "Fertile Ground" inspired by my interest and connection to the mythological Greek earth mother Goddess Gai and the Buddhist Goddess of compassion and protection Kaun Yin. It will also include photos that I took of the women honored on the Women Making History in Portland mural that I was honored to be able to put my mark on as well. The Opening reception will be tonight March 7 during First Friday Art Quest at Janovec Gallery at 4504 SE Milwaukie @ SE Holgate and will be on exhibit throughout the month of March.

My Inspiration for the sculpture "Fertile Ground" was Gaia and Kuan Yin

Gaia Spirit: Earth, Sea and Sky ~
Kuan Yin: Goddess of compassion and protection

Gaia or Gaea, known as Earth or Mother Earth (the Greek common noun for "land" is ge or ga). She was an early earth goddess and it is written that Gaia was born from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe. She gave birth to Pontus (the Sea) and Uranus (the Sky).

To protect her children Gaia hid them all within herself.

“Gaia the eternal, prehistoric earth mother goddess, is fertility incarnate, moist, mysterious and strong. She is life energy itself; everything that lives, overflows with her life. She is the earth and all the powers of the earth. As a goddess of the soul, she reminds us that the soul develops in dark places and that ultimately soul must be rooted in body, in earth”-Michael Babcock reflecting on the paintings of Susan Seddon Boulet.

Like Gaia, the divine female Kuan Yin, is the beloved Buddhist goddess of over a billion people the world over. Her name too signifies her compassionate nature, literally meaning

'One who hears the cries of the world'

When a child plays on her lap, or children at her feet, they symbolize not only newborn and/or spiritual life, but also Mother Nature whose mysterious powers continually produce, sustain, destroy, and renew life throughout the universe. One of the several stories surrounding Kuan Yin is that she was a Buddhist who through great love and sacrifice during life, had earned the right to enter Nirvana after death.

Let us remember, there cannot be sunlight without shadow.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Chronic Chronicle Online Zine

I recently had an essay and picture of the accompanying sculpture included in The Chronic Chronicle Online Zine edited by fellow OWCA member Katie Simpson. Check out my contribution which will also be included in the printed version of the Zine!-

Destination: Migraine, Colorado

Living in the valley, I arrive a day early to acclimate my body. The summer is hot and dry; the air is thin. I walk and my body feels heavy, like in a bad dream. I walk through the thick, opaque cloud. I remember last time, feeling as if I was drowning in the desert. I know I have to create the river inside. I begin to drink water like a thirsty puppy after a hike. I have looked forward to this week all year with a feeling of overwhelming excitement and dread. When I sculpt in clay, I find myself by losing myself in the dense, cool, moist wonderful chocolate. The moment I open the virgin bag and touch its smooth surface, my insides release. I stop thinking about the heat, the thirst, the rules, and the outside world. Fifty pound heads is the daunting challenge; two heavy 25 Lb. bags of luscious clay. I dive into the darkness. Day three and I can no longer see clearly. The once tolerable altitude now becomes so oppressive that I can no longer function. So much for hydrating myself. I continue to sculpt so I won’t lose any of the precious week. I can’t bear to lose a moment. The more I panic the more I hurt. The sounds of the dining hall are too much to hear. My ears, my eyes and my brain become so sensitive to every stimulus that it is unbearable. My classmates keep a safe distance as they can see me fading. I feel like I am falling off this mountain near Aspen and am being crushed by the chair lift that continues to operate over the dry mountain. I build and I sculpt and I carve and I refine and I feel like I am going to die. I just want it to end. I can’t run from it, so I surrender to the clay. I take every pill I have to no avail. I concede and go back to my room and try to rest my head on the pillow that has somehow transformed itself into a cement block covered in thorns. So I return to the studio determined to work through the pain. Ben Harper’s lyrics ring in my ears. He says, "They say that time kills the pain, I say pain kills all time”. My head begins to feel as if it has now become 50 Lbs. as well. I look at my sculpture and I cannot see, yet I trust that it is being created. Clay is my solace, the only time I feel whole. The day and night finally end. The fog lifts; the vice that once owned my head has fallen away. I prepare to meet the sculpture I could not see the day before. The head and I work together for the next two days until the collaboration feels complete and the workshop has ended. She spends the next day drying and then she takes her proper place amongst the other heads in the kiln. I wait for her to finish becoming. She finally reveals herself to me as she emerges from the fire. I am able to see how my pain has somehow been transmuted into a woman of tremendous power and strength. I aptly entitle her "Time Doesn't Kill the Pain, Pain Kills My Time. We return home together to the valley forever transformed.----------Jo Grishm