First published in my June 2016 newsletter as 'Meditation on Migration'
It was chance and my good fortune that I was born into a family that could look after me, in a country that offered security, with the means and opportunity to follow my dreams at every step.
I know that not everyone is so lucky and with every refugee who dies while seeking the security, stability and safe future for their children that I still too often take for granted - I feel the loss of their dreams. The children, whose dreams should shine the brightest, are the greatest loss of them all.
Physically I can not go and save them. I have children of my own who need me. But I want to do something. I have made donations to charities and charity apeals that work with refugees in a variety of ways over this year and a half, offering my funds so that others might support those in need and give practical assistance where I can not.
But I can not give all of my resources to save them, even though the desire is sometimes overwhelming. Particularly at this time of many crossings, as the Mediterranean death toll rises with every hour and every news report.
I have swum in the Mediterranean. My spiraling stars were born on a night looking out to sea off the coast of Italy and losing the place where the Milky Way ended and the reflection of far off galaxies began. When I stood at the edge of a promenade and could not sense the beach below me, nor tell which lights i nthe middle distance were from ships at sea, from the stars above or from the reflections below it felt as though I was standing in the middle of the universe, that the world was full of magic and that anything was possible.
I think of that night now and it is shadowed by recent news reports so that even in the peace of my memory I sense the lost, the desperate and the afraid hovering at the edges of my awareness. They too may well be looking out into a dark sky tonight, from the middle of the Mediterranean, unable to tell where the night begins, the sea ends and a safe haven lies; uncertain of which lights are ships offering rescue if only they can stay alive long enough and which lights watch over them from a hundred light years away.
I painted “Storm in a Teacup” over a year ago. It was a playful attempt to describe my own migrant experience. Born in the States and yet always slightly ‘other,’ I was able to travel and find my own future in this land beyond the Atlantic. I travelled with airline tickets, passport and funds to keep me fed and warm at night. I feel fortunate to have been so lucky and yet, if anything, my good fortune heightens my sense of injustice as I watch other mothers, other daughters, seeking to find their own paths and meeting hardship and loss every step of the way.
And I want to do something. No matter how small and insignificant it might seem when I look at the big picture I want to do something that is manageable for me, within my means, which can continue over time and which might be, maybe, just enough to ease someone else’s journey, save someone else’s life, feed a child’s hopefuly dreams. For this reason I am promising that 20% of all my Fine Art Prints sales from this summer, and longer if needed, will be donated to support the 2016 Mission of the MOAS Migrant Offshore Aid Station as they continue their offshore search and rescue work in the Mediterranean.
From Making Art to Making a Difference
I hope you will join me in doing something to help.