STAY WITH ME
from their mother’s arms
compelled me to this work.
I’ve tried to exhibit the power
of women in this series,
aiming beyond the immediate,
but the horror at the border
hurts too much.
I dealt with this subject before —
mothers shielding their children.
I painted “Can I Protect Her?”
ten years ago, in a different world.
Though the woman worries,
draped in flag colors,
the feisty child peeks out at her future.
The triangle composition is balanced, safe.
Now in 2018 the same subject
exposes a harsher attitude.
In “We Will Survive”
the mother and child stand amidst rubble
and death – the fish skeleton –
Where do we turn?
For me, nature is a comfort.
I found this beautiful shape on the ground.
Then I noticed the outside of the frond
and painted it to reveal the hidden body.
The finished back.
The bent form has a “front”
where a child has to climb.
I tried to place anatomy in the curves
and the child’s butt fit a natural crease.
The mother has to reach over to the child
so I crafted an arm out of clay.
Their fingers almost touch but not quite.
A draft of mother’s head in clay.
I tried to catch her desperation mixed with resolve.
Her hair would be ordinary grass
because she’s a force of nature,
painted intense blue for her beauty.
Finally, mother and child
reach out to each other:
“Stay with me.”