Selected Early Works | 2008-2012
Graphite: Tanzania | 2010-2012
Oil Series: "The Water of Life"| 2013
FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, the concept of accessing water has seemed as simple and natural as breathing air. Remarkably, during my life I’ve never turned a water faucet to find empty results. A stream has always flowed forth from the source. It is in this body of work that I explore the majority of the world’s relationship with water—a relationship that is far different from yours and mine. I seek to represent those whose lives are critically dependent upon and deeply impacted by water. Those who travel long distances to wells, to watersheds, to rivers and streams. Those who walk miles through arid prairies, plains and deserts. Those who sacrifice an education to retrieve it. Those who sacrifice a career—an opportunity for prosperity—to retrieve it. Those who schedule and plan almost every detail of their day around this one substance.
Of course such conditions are the immediate and most obvious consequences of the water crisis. Yet I hope to show that the reality is this—and so much more. Water may determine whether or not a girl attends school. Water impacts maternal and infant mortality rates. Water sustains or destroys a community’s physical health. This element is poised to drastically shape economic security, political stability and social equity. For this body of work, I did not paint from personal experience or travels but from images I gathered through other sources. The children represented in this series may be unfamiliar to me, but I can assuredly confess that their faces, and more importantly, the ideas they stand for, could never be unfamiliar. I have spent countless hours refining one eye, the balance of lips, the tilt of a head or the spread of tiny fingers. I’ve come to know every face in this collection. And I know that these children, wherever they are right now, are critically dependent on the substance of life: water. In their eyes, you catch a glimpse of the vast potential and capacity for prosperity struggling to live within these small children. The difference between what is and what can be forms my connection with each one. With improved access to water these children can, and certainly will, thrive.
Artist Statement | This show harnesses my memories from Tanzania into a series of stark, high- contrast graphite drawings. These drawings capture the optimism, resilience, and intellectual tenacity of the children in Rau village with the goal of juxtaposing their bright spirits and infectious smiles against the apparent difficulties of life in rural Tanzania. Each piece offers a glimpse into childhood innocence, from moments of classroom boredom to moments of learning and laughter. These children approach life full of fascination, and it is this sense of wonder and curiosity which resonates so closely with many of our own childhood memories. My hope is that as you view each piece, you can identify with the children who have inspired my art and left an indelible mark on my life.