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Artist Statement

The Remembrance Drawings

 

These drawings were begun as a reaction to the events of September 11, 2001. Initially they were planned as two tower-like drawings made up of many small drawings. I was struck by the number of eyewitness accounts that mentioned large quantities of paper drifting from the sky. The first images I drew were bones that remained and empty chairs for families with missing members. As I proceeded with the drawings, the initial concept seemed limiting. Once I began to think about the need for remembrance it seemed that the events of September 11 were a starting point, but that we all have much to bear in mind – as individuals, as families, as cultures, as religions, as nations, and as human beings.

 

The base of each drawing is black Sa paper put together to make a stele, or a marking stone. The small drawings were created to underscore the “story” of each piece. I purposely included no images of any specific disaster, since we have all seen too many images that will never leave our minds.

 

The text written on each piece is a reference to the millions of words said, broadcast, written, and thought about unspeakable events. There is too much information – it is overwhelming. Therefore, while the text is readable there is too much of it and it is written in black ink on black paper. The texts for each piece are organized around a theme or central story. For example the text for the drawing, East of Eden, begins with the story of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden in Genesis. The other texts written on the drawing are from The Koran, The Acaranga Sutra, The Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art, The Wonder That Was India, and articles from the Bangkok Post and The Nation.
The use of text with images embedded within refers as well to illuminated manuscripts. The gold in the letters is meant to echo the use of gold in sacred texts, yet after I had finished I was amazed to see that the gold appeared to like
small windows lighting dark buildings.

 

These drawings were done in an intense period of three months in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They are my mediation from a distance. They are both intimate and impersonal.

 

No one is free from the task of remembering.
Remembering is the task of the “innocent” and the “guilty” alike.
What we need is a way of remembering that can be meditative, not divisive.

 

Mary M. Griep
2001