A few thoughts on a cold day

From the series Kindling:

Traditionally home is the center of the family, the hearth is the heart of the home, a place where families come together for comfort and warmth. The kindling in these drawings echo this ancient ideal of comfort and security, just as the fragile and unsteady piles of wood echo the vulnerable position of women struggling to sustain their families in the most severe conditions imaginable.

“By this accident of birth, my children  thrive while others go hungry.  How can this be? It's not right.”  Sonia

“By this accident of birth, my children thrive while others go hungry. How can this be? It’s not right.” Sonia

Welcome

Untitled-1 copyMy drawings are an attempt to change the realm in which violence and intolerance are viewed—from often private stories to something for all of us to look at publicly. My current work consists of editorial images focusing on the effects of social constraints, physical abuse, social injustice, and intolerance on women of varying cultures.

As an artist, I love the flexibility and delicacy of graphite and charcoal as I work on these images. The drawings subtlety invite intimacy while the stories themselves can be disturbing. These visual essays are an attempt to recreate for the observer my own experience of dismay over the continued vulnerability of women in the 21st century. These series reflect my own struggle to understand what is senseless, while hoping to raise awareness for the viewer, through the use of sequential images, visual storytelling, and first person testimony.

You will find artist statements and samples of my work in the portfolio section. Off the navigation bar in the the portfolio section, I have uploaded several images from a recent show to give you some sense of what they look like when exhibited. I am eager to hear what you think and am always open to suggestions about where I might share my work. Please be in touch.

Sandy

Art for Art’s Sake

On April 26 from 7-10pm, I will be showing and selling prints at the 6th annual “Art for Art’s Sake” fundraiser. “Art for Art’s Sake” benefits art education at the Lincoln School in Brookline, MA. The event will be at the school, 19 Kennard Rd. in Brookline. In the past up to 40 others artists have shown their work as well. There will be live music and cash bar (the event is 21 and up). The work ranges from painting to prints, sculpture, photography, and crafts. Below are prints I will make available. Many are from my series on the Lovesong of J. Alfred Prudrock. I will be bringing pieces from several other series as well. Please be in touch with any questions, comments, or inquiries.

Kindling

How different are the concerns of mothers the world over? How different are the needs of families—in cities, villages, refugee camps? Children need care. They must be tended to—fed, clothed, sheltered. These essential truths do not change no matter where you live, or what condition you find yourself in. These are the thoughts which occupied my mind as I took a group of local mothers to collect firewood in the town in which I live, and interviewed them to find out what the essential needs of their families are, and how these needs are met.

Traditionally home is the center of the family, the hearth is the heart of the home, a place where families come together for comfort and warmth. The kindling in these drawings echo this ancient ideal of comfort and security, just as the fragile and unsteady piles of wood echo the vulnerable position of women struggling to sustain their families in the most severe conditions imaginable. These drawings of kindling gathered by individual local mothers, and accompanied by their own quotes obtained in interviews, reveal how universal are the needs of families, just as it made clear how precarious and out of reach these most basic of needs are for hundreds of thousands of mothers, fathers, and their children, world wide.

For Darfuri women, driven from their homes in the Darfur region of Sudan, into refugee camps in eastern Chad, basic needs are as scarce, as they are plentiful for my own children. Since 2003, persecution has driven over two million people, the majority of them women and children, into crowded camps that are scattered in areas with scarce wood for fire. Venturing outside the camps in search of wood to cook their meals often ends in rape and other forms of violence. The search for firewood takes on new meaning, as essential for survival as the quest for fire, food, and shelter from the elements since time immemorial.

"We have never known what it is to have no home, keeping my family warm has never been a problem" Hannah

“We have never known what it is to have no home, keeping my family warm has never been a problem” Hannah

“I never think of myself as being in danger, I have never been assaulted while getting food, I can’t even think of any situation where I was frightened for the safety of my kids.” Sara

“My child is well fed and healthy, I never fear that he is not safe.” Maria

“By this accident of birth, my children thrive while others go hungry. How can this be? It’s not right.” Sonia

“I am not fearful… my children have everything they need, they have all the clothes they need, they have all the blankets they need.” Laura

“My child has never been hungry and been unable to get him food, he does not know what hunger is.” Dana

Is This the Answer?

Is This the Answer?

Is this the Answer?: These medieval instruments of torture, real and imagined, are visual comments on the state of safety for women in the 21st century.

What is the answer to keeping the world’s women and girls safe from physical and sexual abuse? What will it take for our sisters, mothers, and daughters to live in safety without shame?  “Is this the Answer?” reflects on the prevalence of physical and sexual abuse, victim’s internalized feelings of shame, and the failure world wide to provide women and girls with protection and redress. The juxtaposition of these medieval instruments of torture, with western proverbs taken from history, are comments on the continued vulnerability of women in the 21st century. Together the proverbs and images underscore mixed messages that women still struggle to reconcile today.

In the middle ages women could be sentenced to wear shaming devices for being too outspoken, for dressing in a way that was considered shameful, or simply walking in a way that was considered enticing to men. Today, women no longer are sentenced to wear a branks, or mask of shame, but may still be silenced by internalized notions of self-blame. Feelings of guilt are frequent among victims of physical and sexual abuse. Women continue to “Suffer and Be Still”, witnessed by the continued under reporting of rape world wide. Women, young and old, frequently internalize blame in domestic assault cases, insisting that they elicit abuse by provoking their partners or by not being docile enough. The double pillory presented in “It Takes Two to Make a Quarrel”, literally binds both victim and abuser together, making no distinction between them, in much the same way women have been known to make excuses for an abusive partner.

Despite the romanticization of the chastity belt, women who were locked in this devise (“Under Lock and Key”) to maintain their “honor” despite it’s inability to protect, were more often inflicted with physical and emotional pain. Then, as now, women who lose their “purity”, even in cases of rape, can face a punishment of death in certain cultures. A cage or “gibbet” once used to inflict a slow and torturous death, might today be put to better use as a protective devise for a young woman coming of age.

Click here to see the rest of the series…

https://smithgarcesart.com/is-this-the-answer/