This series emerged as I prepared to go to Chinain the Spring of 2018 to facilitate a program on leadership to college students for the World Academy for the Future of Women. While there, I would also facilitate art experiences to residents of local and remote villages on behalf of WAFW program called give Voice to Women through the Arts. This program was made possible from a grant from the US State Department.
I don’t think I realized it while I was working on these pieces that I was thinking about what I might face in China, about my perceptions of the Chinese culture and communism. I was curious about how much autonomy can one really have living in a communist country. How big is the box of their lives? How boxed in do they feel?
What I learned is that we all have the boxes of our lives, whether they are self-imposed or government enforced, or formed by some other outside force. The box may be different for each of us however we are all in them. How we navigate, climb out or into the next box or tether to another both separates and unites us. And each of our personas have their own box – who we are at work, at home, in different relationships, as a parent, child, and sibling. We are like Hermit Crabs, shedding one shell to grow into another.
Symbolically, the book-like structure represents us as both, a collective and individual. It was created from one sheet of paper, torn, soaked and peeled apart. The paper curls and folds naturally in reaction, much like how our own lives are shaped by events. It is purposely left blank, leaving the fibrous scars formed from the pulling apart. Beautiful. Rough. Scarred. Every WoMan. The threads are unraveling as though yielding to the force of the paper as it curls into its self.
So often we are bound by unseen forces– limiting beliefs formed from stories of the past and heartache.and the underscoring emotions surrounding these events.