Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Turn Against War!

One of my personal goals for this May's Chicago at the Crossroads: Turn Against War walk from Madison, Wisconsin, to Chicago, Illinois, was to understand who Alice the activist and Alice the artist were and to try to find a way for these two to bond. How could I be both an activist and an artist? Could I experience both activism and art without sacrificing one for the other?
And so, I walked, carrying signs calling for the drones to be grounded and for peace to come to Afghanistan. I also brought with me a visual journal. There were many days when the miles of walking and the evening presentations on Afghanistan and NATO left me feeling too tired to draw and paint. But I still managed in the two and a half weeks of the walk to get out that visual journal and depict the world around me as I saw it.
Here are the pictures:
At the start of my journey, in Madison, I painted this picture. It is a depiction of one of Joy First's dolls. Joy designs and creates dolls that tell a story about her life and experiences. This one is of her future. She made this doll to depict her future aged self. The old lady that Joy sees herself as becoming is vibrant and energetic, with flowing white tresses and a glittery skirt. How I would love to become such an elderly lady!

This man, a wood gatherer, was part of a larger painting at the Milwaukee art museum. The architecture of that museum is stunning. The building actually looks like a giant bird. It is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, and, when you look out the back window, you can see the water, which looks as if it flows on and on, without any sign of another side. This one was done in colored pencil.

This picture was done in Jefferson, Wisconsin. We were invited to stay at a rectory there. Father Tom, who lives at the rectory, is the pastor of five churches in rural Wisconsin. This clock is one of Father Tom's most prized possessions. It was made for him by a man whose grandson was killed by a drunk driver. After the boy died, the family did not seek revenge, saying that the boy was all about love, not revenge. I did this picture in mixed media (watercolor paint and markers).

We spent a night at a Saint Mary Help of Christians church (in the church center, a separate building from the church). This is one of Father Tom's five parishes. The statue near the church's small cemetery is done in watercolor and marker.

It was a good walk, a good adventure. I saw murals in Milwaukee, with paintings of leaders of various causes, including labor and civil rights. They were big and on the sides of buildings. I was happy to see this display of the bond between art and activism. 
I'm still working at merging Alice the Artist and Alice the Activist. 
More to come later (future walks, maybe...)

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