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…

…without sentimentality.

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.

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