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2/16/2018 began the lunar New year of the earth dog. And I find my thoughts informed by the recent events in Florida.
So here's the why I'm making this piece:
My husband and I had a lengthy discussion about it. I won't share the heated exchange portions, but I will share the important conclusions:
"Something has gone wrong with our society. This is a generational problem. There are no fast and easy solutions.
So what is the solution?
The solution is teaching our kids to be kind and the morals to never even consider murder as a solution."
"How do we teach valuing another human life? How do we teach valuing our own? That has to be internalized to be meaningful.
Compassion, connection, empathy, self regulation, emotional self awareness, and self control, and curbing entitlement."
"That's what our leaders need to start focusing on as a nation."
"It's a call for us, all of US to get involved, and DO something. Get involved in our communities, our schools, with our youth, mentor-- take on the responsibility of "but who's going to do anything about it"- by being the people who step up and model.
...Or admit that we don't want to and don't care enough to."
"It isn't even not caring enough. It's just a lack of influence to do anything like it outside of your personal circle."
"So we make our circles bigger."
Art is how I communicate.
It's how I strive in my own way to help make those inter human connections that bind us all to each other. You, and this piece are my first step to making my circle bigger. THIS, is what I can do, right now.
For the 2018 earth dog, I've chosen to pair a dachshund with Florida orchids, on a dictionary page featuring the word 'community'.
Dachshunds (And terriers) compete in something called earthdog trials, and while the name alone is already fitting for the 2018 earth dog, it's an instinct test for willingness to dig deep and work underground in pursuit of quarry for dogs that were bred to hunt vermin.
Dachshunds, like all dogs, are known for devotion, but they also symbolize the joy of life.
The earth is associated with patience, thoughtfulness, practicality, hard work and drawing things together to create harmony, rootedness and stability.
Oncidium is one of the lucky flowers for 2018. In researching oncidium orchids, I came across oncidium floridanum, the Florida dancing lady, a yellow orchid considered endangered in Florida... That alone would have been enough to choose it for this piece, but I wanted to know more about the flower's symbolism as well.
In China, orchids are regarded as emblems of integrity, elegance and friendship. In modern interpretations, yellow orchids specifically symbolize friendship, joy and new beginnings.
For placement, the orchids are for us and the choice we face- do we get involved with our communities and youth to improve our collective humanity, or do we turn away from it and let it be left to someone else?
The dog stands guard over community, while across it's underside are seventeen swirls, one for each life lost.
And I place it on the page for community because I believe the new beginning, the solution we need to form the social attachments needed to stop this from happening again, is going to come from all of us, working together, in the ways that we can. Stepping up, and making our circles bigger. Getting involved with our communities and youth.
I am starting with this piece of art. What will you do?