The Afghan Memorial Mural Project was a brilliant success! Click on our link to view our photo album.
About the project:
The piece we are contributing to the AFSC Afghan Memorial Mural Project is a collaboration between Deborah and Laura of The Hamptons’ teaching art studio: L’Atelier 5 and Southampton Intermediate School in Southampton, NY.
The 5th & 6th grade students of SIS were introduced to the project during an assembly and over 20 students came to the first brainstorming session, of which ten continued on… To generate ideas, we discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and began to consider how it would feel to live there everyday amidst the war, what it would look like, sound like, smell like. This conversation was the springboard for our work, evoking a sense of empathy in the students and hoping to convey that with the piece and make their feelings somewhat contagious. Students were able to identify with the idea that families, like their own, were being effected by the war in their daily lives. In addition to color and imagery, we then focused on writing some poetry, prose or sharing a quote that reflected our voice. After sketching and talking about how to communicate our ideas we came up with the concept: the central shape is reminiscent of an eye, (Eyes Wide Open) which is looking outward and inward symbolizing both awareness and introspection. This area uses a warm color palette, indicative of the war that is happening in Afghanistan, and suggesting the people are enveloped by fire both literally and metaphorically speaking. The surrounding areas are cool hues of violet and blue in the night sky or calming waters temper the flames bringing hope and peace.
The mother and child are walking toward the dimly lit village and the young child is pointing to the first star of the night. Hope is difficult to hold onto during times of turmoil, especially in as helpless a situation as war. This gesture also tears down the walls of difference by showing that women and children (people) are more or less the same regardless of where they live. This also brings the emphasis of the piece to the innocent child, who, amidst the chaos, holds on to belief for a better day with the important night time ritual of making a wish. The poetry and written word throughout the piece are personal contributions of all the artists and are swirl swiftly yet gently, signifying a need for action. These words create movement throughout the painting as well as the loose wind-like pattern that unifies the piece. Our words also represent the concept of a “prayer” flag, or, hanging one’s prayers, hopes or thoughts out to be carried by the wind. In this way, we hope to promote the idea that our collective consciousness can evoke awareness and ultimately bring about positive change.
Special thanks to Laura O. Swan, artist and teacher, who made the opportunity for our participation in this project possible, Tim Frazier, principal and Jen Charron, art teacher at Southampton Intermediate School, as well as the fabulously passionate young artists who participated in the phenomenal project.
Look for our feature article in the community section of this week’s (June 17) SOUTHAMPTON PRESS.
Watch a slideshow of the mural details here.
FOLLOW YOUR ART!
L’Atelier 5 has been asked to participate in the Afghan Civilian Memorial Mural Project, which has been coordinated by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). 50 Artists from around the US and overseas will be working together to complete a series of 4′ x 6′ painted panels (our blank panel is to the right!) which will then be assembled into a large traveling mural to raise awareness about the cost of war to innocent civilians in Afghanistan. The studio will be collaborating with a group of students from Southampton Intermediate School on a painted piece which will incorporate poetry to convey their feelings about this global issue. We are interested in finding a space to show this piece locally during the tour. Please contact the studio if you know of an interested gallery.
Stay tuned for updates and photographs of our work in progress. Visit the links above for more information.
Thank you for your support!