Now come the men in this installation
carrying their children
This father will kneel on the gallery floor,
baggage on his back,
enfolding his child…
…both of them screaming.
His hands clutch the baby
as its hand grabs onto him.
His watch stopped at 5:59
when the guards took away his child…
…who dropped this toy dog.
The next man’s story is in his face
(drawn in charcoal and pastel on raw canvas
like most figures in this series).
He carries his daughter
wrapped in one of the burlap bags
used throughout this installation.
She’s cradled in his hands.
Her slim fingers hold the rough blanket
as if it might protect her
But at the bottom of the canvas
he stands behind a barrier
of jagged metal wires.
Will he find a way to bring her through
or is he handing her over
for someone else to take
When I saw these giant coffee bean bags
on “Artists Trading” at ShoeboxPR
I knew their texture could unite
the figures seeking sanctuary.
(Thank you, Virginia Broersma)
The impact will build as figures amass,
2 or 3 per month until summer.
In this one, a bean bag becomes
a basket carrying a child.
I wanted the woman to have dignity,
resolve, a way forward…
So I gave her a cellphone.
(This detail also shows her dress
made of 2 dozen canvas pleats.)
The emotional heart is the baby
peeking out to a place
that might not welcome them.
Each piece is around 7 feet tall,
too big to photograph indoors,
so this one is on my backyard fence.
(The streaks are light coming through.)
The woman’s face – charcoal and pastel –
has a gentleness that belies her journey.
Combining drawing and pastel
allows the raw linen texture to show.
With one hand the child holds on to his mother…
…while the other hand, roped to the bag,
clutches a toy bunny.
Here is the emotional heart of this piece.
A ray of sun streamed over the fence
to guide them.