I sculpted "9-1-1" on the day after the terrorists attacked my country on September 11, 2001.
I worked furiously all day long, listening to the news in the background as the search for survivors
continued. For so long, horrible images ran on the TV that only emphasized the images of disturbing, small details
that were in my head. I did not mean to keep at it for such a concentrated time, but sculpting
was a kind of therapy for me, in my helplessness.
"9-1-1" expresses some of my anguish for people I did not know and my sorrow for a world
that could know such hatred and disregard for the miracles of life. The ashes from the collapse
of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City that cover the figure also represent the
pain of others. This pain covers us, minimizing the difference in our looks and cultural
backgrounds, and allows us the ability to feel empathy.
"9-1-1" (pronounced "nine-one-one", the number to call for emergency assistance, as well as
the date of the human atrocity) is an open edition, meaning I have not limited the number of castings
that may be made of this bronze sculpture.
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Where is Empathy? Where is Peace?
(More photos below)
9-13-01Like countless others when I heard the news of the attack, I felt weak. My stomach ached as
I tried to imagine the horror and fear felt by those people on the hijacked planes as they came to
understand something of what was about to happen. A terrible shock and overwhelming sadness
descended upon me as I was forced to acknowledge that so much suffering exists in our world.
What kind of lives must a group of people have in order to decide that THIS was a good thing to do?
I did not know what to do. Feeling completely helpless, I decided to immerse myself in
my work. Yesterday morning, I started to sculpt my feelings in wax. The images on this page are
of this work, still in-progress.
The sculpture is based off of a sketch I made on 9-11-01. I was shocked to see many of
us going about our day - almost as if we did not know of these atrocities.
But I was doing it too, for lack of a better idea. Ironically, if I had not been on my way
into town (Austin) for a seminar on getting publicity for visual arts, I would not have known
about this until much, much later. I heard the news on KGSR radio as I drove to the Austin Lyric
Opera building. (My first thought was, "That's not funny." Then almost simultaneously I realized
the DJ was not joking. The horror was just beginning.) Any other day of the week, I would have been home alone in the woods in
southwest Bastrop County. After walking with my dog, Zac, I would have put on my dust mask,
goggles, and ear protection, and gone straight out to carve some stone - out of touch with the
rest of the world for hours.
I am not sure why I felt the need to share this with you. But if any of you have created
art as therapy as well, please feel free to share it or your stories with me.
(More photos below)
What Will We Do Now?
18 September 2001
I don't know the answer to that question. What I do know is that the
world is watching us. They want to see how we respond. It is SO IMPORTANT that whatever we
choose to do, we do it with honor, dignity, and strength. We will defend our citizens. But
we cannot give up our system of justice just because of the enormity of the crime.
How did we deal with the Oklahoma City bombing? We kept to our laws and
brought the guilty to trial. Some of the differences in the plane hijacking attacks are that
those responsible are smarter, sneakier, and they are willing to die for their beliefs.
It will be harder to find them and prove their guilt. But it must be done according to our laws.
Just a thought: Was not World War I called "the war to end all wars"? We now have the
luxury of hindsight to know that it was not so. We need to look at the reality that no matter
how massive a fight, it never seems to end the violence. Let's look at some other (nonviolent,
but not passive) options and try another way this time.
More of the Original Wax Sculpture
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