I want inner peace. I want love. I wanted the experience of being a woman in Abaya; I choose to do it for 21 days. I wore the garment as an artistic experience. I am an artist. Here's what i found out....
Abaya can be a fashion garment and some women have 30 or more abayas in their closet. Wafaa explained that women like to show off their new clothes, no matter where they live. But in Saudi Arabia, when you go out of the house, it’s not realistic to think you will have opportunity to show off your new jeans and a blouse--but you can show off your new abaya.
Boston Artists Bo Petran and Christine Palamidessi discuss their upcoming show--Wabi-Sabi, Febraury 2019-- and the intent behind the Abaya project.
During the past 16 days many people have asked why I am not covering my hair when I am wearing the abaya and the veil. I thought it might be interesting to bring in an expert: the wonderful and lovely Saudi woman who is mentoring me during the abaya project.
Today I talked to Wililam DeLove, a homeless person. When I told him I was an artist experiencing 21 Days in the Abaya. He said, "I thought you were a nun."
The Indian statue at Sunrise Park on the Mohawk Trail greets the Great Spirit and reminds us: Love. Love. Love. Other people. Your fate. Your obstacles. Love it all. Because it’s the only way.
Beauty is glad to come and go freely at the Corning Museum of Glass in Elmira, New York
Since today is the anniversary of the Saudi Arabia's royal decree allowing the government to issue drivers license to women, and I'm in Watkins Glen (car racing capital) , it is also a good day to pay tribute to a woman’s right to drive her own car; say what she needs to say; stand up for herself and her country.
A busload of Chinese tourists at a Massachusetts rest stop were trying so hard to buy chicken nuggets and hamburgers and I decided to help them out with pictures and sign language.
Not many people know much about Muslim women and their garments. Most of us think it is an ancient way to dress. In fact it is not. The outfit I am wearing, and the full black ‘cage’ is a new fashion in Middle East. Prior to the late 70s, early 80s women were not required to wear the body covering garment. They might wear head covering as simple as a scarf and dressed modestly. The change came when the religious fundamental cleric class made the laws regarding women’s clothing.
During my subway ride, a woman stared at me as if i were an insect. When I got up to leave she followed my movement out with her eyes and even turned around and looked at me through the window as the train pulled away, as if she wanted to be sure I was gone.
Today, at the subway station, had to deal with the logistics of wearing abaya--like how to keep hem clean, how not to get it caught in the elevator steps and how to hold onto the veil when its slip sliding off the head.
Our instincts push us towards the comfortable. And I think that seeking to be comfortable can be dangerous. I am an artist, and a good one. If I stayed in a comfort zone, I might be making a different kind of art, a polite art. That’s not my intention: there are enough people doing nice art. I’d rather provoke thinking rather than feeling.
You just can’t keep a girl away from her tools and her power of observation. It's really hitting home that people don’t pay much attention to what’s going on around them. I suppose this human condition is what criminals, terrorists, and cheaters count on: operating in the realm of other’s unawareness.
I went to an Open House for a $2.4 million Cambridge property near Harvard University. The back page of the 10-page brochure that the agents handed out to visitors featured a quote from T.S. Eliot “Home is Where One Starts From.” I wore my abaya.
When a woman in an Abaya is seen on the street with a man let’s assume everyone figures he is related to her and that the man is Muslim...and if he is Muslim, he is the person who has requested his wife, daughter, sister cover her body in public.
I stated Day 3 feeling a bit like an interloper until two women said "excuse me" in Arabic as they brushed past me and their polite, expressed respect, and kindness made me cowgirl-up, shifting my mood.
In the market On Day 2 Woman in Abaya the artist experienced that she was not invisible, that men noticed her as a human not as a sexual object, women looked sideways at her and that most people didn't look at all since they were involved with their cell phones.
New England artist Christine Palamidessi shares experience of wearing abaya, a garment that evokes a particular sensation and mind-set, a way of looking and being looked at--owning the gaze.
“Vestal Virgin Vest #1” , cover art for INTERIM, a poetry and poetics journal, began as a plaster body cast made over a woman’s torso and from there went through a multi-layered process of becoming a 3-D sculpture that was flattened and then stitched .
Boston artist Charlene Liska's video and photography are on exhibit at Silent. Silence. Silenced during the month of November; the sound of her voice casts strong shadows that challenge our questions about the future and what we might choose to make or take from the video screen.
Art is supposed to get people to think about what’s going on, around them. How are people going to become aware if their country's artist self-censor?
Artist takes the reader through the steps in artistic process: going from Greek Goddess of Victory, which was an investigation of antiquity vs. modern life; to hearing news about the silencing of Senator Elizabeth Warren in the US Senate; to sewing Nike's lips shut; to dropping a black hood over the head of the goddess and exploring the silencing effect of a black hood.
When I was artist-in-residence in the town of Otranto, Italy, I became intensely attracted to the Ottoman weapons (Cannonballs everywhere!) perhaps because my father and uncles had been in the armed service by the sea--Iwo Gima, Siege of Rome, Battle of Dunkirk, the Philippines-- and this combination of sensations and memories called me to make art from the weapons.
The bombards, cast from bronze, hurled huge stone balls, weighing up to 1,500 pounds, several miles. After one shot, the barrel had to be cooled in oil to be fired again. The cooling process took over two hour and was frustratingly slow.
To capture the essence of war in her sculptures, artist Christine Palamidessi used weapons from the 1480 siege of Italy.
It was a conceptual idea that lead the artist to cast the cannonballs form the 1480 Ottoman siege of Otranto Castle: to embrace not only the texture of the cannonball but also to capture the essence of the weapon, the energy embedded within the material, and to transfer that energy into her sculptures
Tips for making a postcard to announce your upcoming art exhibit.
Being at the Taj Mahal was like walking over the surface of a postcard or being folded inside the interior of a book because the experience is an out-of-body one in the way that the visuals are extraordinarily familiar yet illusatory. I've never seen such precise symmetry.
The elephant has a most auspicious symbolism: they embody strength and power, especially power of the libido and are seen as a symbol of great sexual power.
If you hit a cow with your car in India the scene will draw a very big crowd and cost the driver a lot of money.
In India Beauty Parlors for Women are experiencing growth. Men are much more public about their grooming, often doing it on the street and women don't color their hair nearly as much as the men. A visitor will notice many more grey-haired women than gray-haired men.
An afternoon party in Dehradun delivers lots of news about women's friendship, Indian garments, children's energy, hospitality and tumeric-laced food.
As I wait for the 2017 eclipse, I recall the Jantar Mantar Astronomy Court in Jaipur, India, and by coincidence BING's homepage featured a photo from the same courtyard, a magical place for seeing the movement of stars and planets in shadow reveal.
In 1968, The Beatles went to Rishikesh to study with Mahrishi Mahesh Yogi and the trip got widespread media attention and influenced Western attitudes about Indian spirituality and music; I went there 40 years later and couldn't wait to get out of town!
Travelers to India may be tempted to step into the Ganges but simply standing on the shore to watch the pleasure and joy of others is very satisfying experience.
Dehradun is known as the love city,the jewel of the Himalayas, gateway to holy cities, education capital of India; for me Dehradun was the first Indian city I got to know. It is about 6 hours north of Delhi.
Fairy, a Hindu family maid, wears a borrowed pink scarf and solemn expression to pose for her first picture in front of a blooming rose bush.
On July 4, Anjula and I flew to Delhi together. At the airport a man picked up her suitcase by mistake and Anjula had to take a 5 hour bus ride west to retrieve it. This was my first expose to the man/woman imbalance in India. The man would have never gone out of his way to return the suitcase. It was the woman's duty to shoulder the burden of inconvenience.
In India I had seen every possible variation of being human and of humanity--good and bad--and it was unrelenting and afterwards, It became important to look inside myself and others and recognize the Divine.
Take a look inside and see the pure gold wall paintings in World Peace Stupa in Dehradun, India, that illustrate the life of Lord Buddha; it took 50 artists three years to do the painting.
In 230 AD Christian mysticism allowed women to choose celibacy and therefore free themselves from the evil, excessive, falling-apart-chaotic era of The Roman Empire; life became an either-or choice.
In 250AD the Emperor Decius decided starvation, lack of public morality, and war was not causing problems in Rome, rather the problems had arisen because the gods had abandoned Rome. Therefore, citizens needed to demonstrate their piety by sacrificing and animal.