I contributed Transgenic Conjoined Ganesh/(es) to Spiral, an installation of handmade dolls and figures at Sand Point Magnuson Park (a former military base) in Seattle. The dolls were set on fire on October 22, 2004 to protest the United States’ military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The impetus for Spiral came from monks who self-immolated during the Vietnam War. I wasn’t able to see the final installation, but I imagine it was beautiful and powerful.
From my statement for Transgenic Conjoined Ganesh/(es):
The figurine/(s) I’m contributing to Spiral is transgenic conjoined Ganesh/(es). The frayed frankenstich aesthetic symbolizes the both monstrous and beautiful lives and identities we piece together in a fractured high-speed post-modern world. I incorporated Ganesh, a deity known for removing obstacles as well as his whimsical instigation of them, always with a sense of humor. This significance extends to my own inward journey, as I have chosen Ganesh to be my representational embodiment of the universal spirit. Frankly, his cute elephant head is much easier for me to deal with than the traditional western, catholic, vengeful, bearded option. While working on the doll, I was meditating on the idea that true peace begins with the self.
Materials: cardboard, masking tape, cotton cloth, cotton thread, wood beads, yarn, glue
From the initial call to action email:
Do you remember the monks setting themselves on fire on the streets of Vietnam to protest violence and injustice?
“I believe with all my heart that the monks who burned themselves did not aim at the death of their oppressors but only at a change in their policy. Their enemies are not man. They are intolerance, fanaticism, dictatorship, hatred and discrimination which lie in the heart of man.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh, Lotus in a Sea of Fire, 1967
As artists it is time to express our desire for an end to violence and war by making an installation that is profound and moving. Spiral will be composed of hand-made figures in a site specific group installation — thousands of dolls spiraling out from a center, each representing the intention of the artist’s own fine self. On October 22, 2004 at 7:00 P.M. at Sand Point Magnuson Park (a former military base) in Seattle, the dolls will be placed in this spiral installation and set afire. The spiraling line of fire-burning figures symbolizing people offering themselves in effigy will be a giant, beautiful, relevant message. Art is necessary. War is not. This is where you come in. Your participation is vital.