Here’s what I’ve been working on…
Engaging with the concept of BLEACHED, this installation explores our bleached ocean environment and the bleaching of our cultural diversity. It was created for the Invitational, Art as Activism Exhibition at Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, Oregon. The exhibition runs through April 1, 2018.
ON BLEACHED ENVIRONMENTS….
My paintings document the changes of our coral reefs in a short 36-year period, and the ensuing dismay at such a great loss. The Great Barrier Reef, experienced a significant coral bleaching event, affecting 1/3 of the reef in 2015, and more bleaching occurred in 2017, one of the warmest years on record for our planet.
What causes the bleaching of coral? Scientists agree the invisible CO2 pollution we send into our air when we fly, drive, eat beef, heat our homes by burning fossil fuels, effectively wraps a blanket around our planet, making the oceans too warm for coral to thrive. The coral expels the algae on which it feeds, which compromises its survival.
Experience the 16 and 6 tons per capita air pollution Americans, and Swedes dump into the atmosphere annually. The earth can manage 2 tons CO2/per capita annually.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT BLEACHED CORAL REEFS?
My message is intended to be one of empowerment and possibility. “What Can I Do? is an invitation to take the first step to see the truth about how much air pollution we each generate. Then you can choose what actions to take, lessening your air pollution.
ON BLEACHING OUR CULTURAL DIVERSITY…
As I considered the definition of bleach, I saw that threats to send the 800,000 DACA recipients, the “dreamers,” back to their countries is effectively bleaching our communities of friendships and economic success these immigrants bring to local businesses and agricultural communities. Such policies deprive our communities of the vitality and substance inherent in cultural diversity and builds fear and anxiety onto the immigrants about separation from their families.
I came to understand the Trump and prior administration policies towards immigrants and the “dreamers” are perpetuating racism and creating unnecessary suffering for them.
On each bleached shirt, hangs a tag, with words referencing the experience of being a “dreamer” in America.
On the Tags of each brown shirt, learn about life as a “dreamer.” Read the stories they tell about their concerns for their future in America.
Examples of stories:
“I’m now halfway through college, and DACA is in danger of being taken away. It’s like a bucket of cold water. As a licensed driver, I help m family get around. It’s scary to think what could happen next. It’s leaving us in limbo. ” (DACA recipient 2017)
“Don’t close the door to a classroom I have been trying to enter for years”.
USA Today Sept 5, 2017
“If you believe that getting rid of me and those like me will make America great again, then you have misunderstood what it means to be American. All my life, Americans taught me the value of hard work and sacrifice. I was told that grit was the key to the American dream. People like me have lived most of our whole lives among you — we are your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends.
Killing DACA will not solve your immigration problem, but it will kill our American dream.”
Marwin in LA
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IMMIGRATION REFORM?
Most importantly, ask your immigrant neighbors how you can help.
Understand the issues, using a range of sources. Economically, research from the Center for American Progress shows that if DACA beneficiaries remain in the U.S., they will contribute more than $460 billion to the U.S. gross domestic products over the next decade. (source: Teen Vogue Nov. 2017)
Locally, become informed about what is happening in Oregon and Washington. Immediate calls and letters to our legislators are needed, asking for permanent solutions for a path to citizenship for dreamers and all immigrants. Register to vote and support those who support DACA programs and a path to citizenship.
LET’S CREATE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING FOR ALL SPECIES…
Individually, moment by moment, we each make choices in how we live. Together let’s make the choice to belong to a future of creating health and well-being for all species. It is an extraordinary opportunity to reinvent our communities and our relationship to the natural world.
UPDATE: January 2018
THE RED CHAIR PROJECT is an art installation project, introducing the philosophy of UBUNTU, to the Gorge community which Cyndi shared in public spaces during the Summers of 2016 and 2017.
Over 100 people participated in writing about UBUNTU in their lives, sharing meaningful relationships, and describing how these connections impact their lives.
Here’s what people said who participated, ” We need more opportunities like this in our culture… especially now! ”
Connect UBUNTU + RED CHAIR on Social Media:
Take a photo of yourself with a Red Chair then post on INSTAGRAM. Write how a meaningful event or connection affects your life:
“______I am ___________because of YOU.”
Next, TAG #redchairubuntu #ubuntulife and
HOST the Red Chair Project at your school, library or organization! Ask students to respond to current issues like gun violence in schools, racial tension, connections and more. Schedule a week for building UBUNTU into the lives of our youth via the Red Chair Project. Contact Cyndi
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE RED CHAIR PROJECT…. KEEP ON READING!
What is UBUNTU?
UBUNTU, (pronounced UU-BOON-tuu) is an African word for a universal concept meaning, “I am because of You,” or “I am because of who we all are.”
UBUNTU is the expression of compassion towards other human beings and the belief in a universal bond of interconnectedness between all humanity and all species on the planet.
THE RED CHAIR PROJECT is an invitation to write about and share your experience of connecting with one another and the wild natural world –A friend, teacher, something you love to do, a place you enjoy, your work, something you believe in….
The Red Chairs have been placed in local libraries, farmer’s markets, in front of books stores and community churches or businesses in Hood River, Oregon and White Salmon, Washington during the summers of 2016 and 2017.
As Red Chair Events evolve they will be listed in Upcoming Events section and in the Red Chair Project section of Cyndi’s website. Let’s continue to UBUNTU the Gorge!
MOTHER AND ARTIST…the search for balance
This series of images evolved out of my insistence on creating art within my domestic responsibilities as a mother. The images document the residue of my practice of incorporating an artistic gesture, using olive oil on a cast iron fry pan, as I cook my morning egg. A photo is taken to record this ephemeral moment between hot iron and oil. The alchemical nature of the process led to these unexpected images. All available for purchase and display.
Cyndi Strid, Artist
Paintings juried into the Art of the Feast… for those who find art and food essential.
Prints and originals available for purchase. Contact Cyndi