– rowing against the current

I can relate on so many levels!

sub rosa

If you wonder what contemporary political art might look like, have a look at this:

Antti Laitinen, Growler, 2009 video still

… I tried to make a small iceberg, so throughout the winter I stored 7 cubic meters of snow inside a big styrofoam box. When the summer came, I took the snow out and brought it to the sea …


Antti Laitinen’s small iceberg – Growler – can be read as a simple and poetic statement. The work is visually very pleasing, a beautiful tragicomic absurd happening, the political aspect is in no way compromising the aesthetic form of the work.

Warmer seas lead to melting from below of polar ice shelves, compromising their structural integrity and leading to spectacular shelf collapses. Scientists worry that warmer water could interrupt the so-called ocean conveyor belt, the system of global currents that is largely responsible for regulating Earth’s temperature. Its collapse could trigger catastrophically rapid…

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Face Painting Kids!

Face painting kids is fun especially when I meet a kid who wants to pretend to be a character or animal because it involves exploring fearlessness in a safe way. One young boy who was becoming a tiger told me,

“Tigers are really patient.” (I complimented him on sitting so nicely while I put on the make-up.) He went on: “They have to wait very quietly for their prey AND THEN THEY POUNCE!”

Ha! He was a very clever tiger!

I am often the first clown a kid has met.  With all the negative representation on television and a somewhat subconscious fear of masks and make-up hiding a person’s identity it is understandable some children will prefer to hang back.

I do not believe in pressuring a child to participate.  I really think it is important that kids get to observe clowns however!

 The process of “clowning” is very valuable to the brain, for the clown’s and for the audience’s brains. 

Clowning is an opportunity to look at ourselves differently.  It opens up the possibility for play and gives us a chance to laugh about things we might otherwise worry about, like “being different” “looking foolish” or “being SURPRISED!”

Mother’s Peace Day by Julia Ward Howe.

Mother’s Day was started in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe. She was an anti-slavery abolitionist and a women’s suffragette who was also wholly committed to activism in the Peace Movement. In fact, when she started the holiday, it was originally called Mother’s Peace Day. The name was probably shortened by some government bureaucrat for reasons of thrift . This is her Mother’s Day Proclamation:
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace, Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Thank you my sons and daughter for choosing art over violence, education over ignorance and music over weeping! I love you all and am so lucky to have you in my life!

Reflections on Motherhood in Two Movies.

I watched the movie “Brave” a pixar/disney film. I didn’t like any of the characters. I hated the story which is the old “princess has to marry a dweeb and rebels instead”. Except she doesn’t rebel, she turns her mother into a bear, regrets it and then turns her back, just in time.

There was nothing brave about any of the character’s actions except perhaps the mother who, as a bear, fights another bear. There was almost nothing about this movie that didn’t make me uncomfortable. At a time when we can be so visually stunning to waste all that on a stupid story with stupid characters is, well, stupid. Remember the Siamese cats in the Lady and the Tramp how scary it was to see them behave that way? That is how all the children in this movie made me feel.

Then I watched: “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” based on the 1943 novel by Betty Smith. It is black and white. The characters are a bit pat, and the story is predictable. It does show how much our attitudes about family, and children in particular have changed, at least in movies. I don’t suppose this was a movie meant for children which is weird too. I would rather protect my children from watching children acting like brats than to avoid a movie about birth, old age, sickness and death. There is growth on the part of the mother and daughter, and while there is a recognition of a desire to rebel on the part of the daughter there is no rebellion, just as there is an understanding on the part of the mother that she is “being hard” and yet she doesn’t waver from what she has to do and what she expects the daughter to do.

The two movies almost seem like they are from two different species. They both depend on glaring simplifications, it is the nature of the beast called entertainment, but while the threads get drawn together in time for the end in each of them, I felt nauscous after “Brave” like I had eaten too much theatre popcorn where as I felt like could have an optimistic little dream after “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”.

We can tell stories that appeal to our better natures rather than piling on cring-worthy disasters that end with meaningless resolutions. When we do it well, we don’t need colourful animation.