Seeking Understanding of “The Other”

other people
The Other, 2018, Mixed Media on Paper, Collection: Free Library of Philadelphia

It’s odd how things come in clumps.  Or maybe we are just more tuned in when we are engaged with a particular topic.    Not long ago, an opportunity arose to participate in an exhibition honoring women of the Civil Rights Movement.   What immediately came to my mind was a piece I had been working on called Making the Dress.  While not really about Civil Rights, a large influence on that piece was the sacrifices women have made to support their families, often in the clothing and textile industries.  While some women worked from home doing mending and tailoring, others faced terrible working conditions in factories.  A particular tragedy that comes to my mind when I reflect on this is the Triangle Shirtwaste Fire of 1911.  The curator of the exhibition was very gracious and said she would include my piece and asked me if I had any other work.  While I did not have any pieces on the Civil Rights Movement, I realized that I have made work in the past that subtly addressed the topic of race relations.

I had made a series of drawings and linocuts back in the 1990s that included generic faces which were always multicultural.  It was sort of my way of saying we are all human beings and here together.  In addition, I just recalled today that the first commission I ever had was for an organization called the Frankford Human Relations Coalition.  I made a cut paper collage of various ethnic groups of people engaging in chatting, playing jump rope, etc.  I have no record of this piece but it was made similarly to the image below of the people riding the subway.  Again, not a big statement, just a way of showing people living together going about their daily lives.

Morning Edition
Morning Edition, circa 1988

 

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