recent work







University of Connecticut
UNESCO Conference on Artists and Human Rights
October 21, 2003

Thank you for this opportunity to speak and to show my work. I am very grateful that there is a school of human rights here at the University of Connecticut. I hope that soon it will be considered a standard curriculum throughout the world.

I am an artist with a passionate interest in the world and the evolution of human rights and history. For a visual artist first hand research and experience is essential. Research is where you get reeled into a story, when you start to explore a subject your interest in that subject grows. You might never know that you have an interest in an area until you explore it.

Research can be seen as a window or door of opportunity towards further experience, moving beyond our familiar environments and having faith that we will be all right. When I lived in various parts of the world I was always looked after by others, often they were complete strangers with a connection to someone else I knew. Living at the grassroots level of a specific reality is where you experience it and form a deeper understanding of it. This experience will express itself in your work. All our subconscious and conscious knowledge is expressed in our art work as individuals and as cultural societies.

The earliest expression of art is traced back in the archaeological record to the Upper Paleolithic period, approximately 25,000 BC. The catalyst for artistic expression thought to be an increase in population densities and technological advances as well as increased socialization. What role art played in the early culture of these human beings we can only theorize. Their art lingers as a silent voice and testimony to their culture and their existence. In our world today art serves to express the many voices of emotion and intellect and shapes our social consciousness. We belong to a continuum of artists and story tellers through all cultures and ages, ongoing. In art school we spent hours every day with life drawing, and a professor once told me that the art that best endures the test of time is art with a humanistic interest. People are fundamentally curious and interested in people

How do you teach the ability to see beauty in everyone and everything? I think it is an ability that can be cultivated through learning to see. There is a non-profit organization called The Rwanda Project that gives cameras to children in Rwanda who were orphaned by the horrific violence there. The children’s photographs have been shown and sold internationally with proceeds going towards their education, I am sure that these children have been given an opportunity to begin to express their reality and share this with others to open their eyes and their minds to the possibilities of that expression and its effect on others. Art is unique in it’s ability to express complex intellectual and emotional data. We express who we are and we learn who we are through our art.

How do you quantify in visuals a struggle for human rights, I think a place to begin is with the individuals that are part of the larger struggles for rights. Reality is in constant motion it’s very fluidity makes it difficult to define, rights are sometimes taken for granted but may or may not be there from one day to the next. An ongoing effort to teach these social concepts is a never-ending challenge.

If there is a frontier in human rights I believe it is in women’s rights. So many of human rights victims are women and much of it is tolerated in silence both by the society at large and also by women, unable to express their voice. Wherever there are human rights violations there is also a limit on expression, human rights violations thrive on silence and secrecy. I hope that my work will inspire others to know that they can get involved and express through art the many human realities

Thank you for this opportunity to express myself and share my work with you.