Now that the initial shock of the earthquake in Haiti has passed, and it seems that the only stories coming out of Haiti are ones of the missionaries who are being held for their "kidnapping" of children and the inability to do humanitarian airlifts to out-of-country hospitals for children in dire need because they may not have proper documentation, I feel that the flow of donations to Haiti and willingness to help has diminished.
Just as I was thinking this, Susan Shie, a professional art quilter who was among the early "Ohio Gang" who really made art quilting in the 1970s, posted on the Quiltart message board that she had done two 18" x 24" brush painted works on canvas which are being auctioned to raise funds for Haiti. The Auction will be held this Friday, February 12 at the Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster, Ohio. Susan kindly shared her photos of her work from her Facebook page with me so that you could see them as well.
Susan is known both for her warm, liberal viewpoints as well as her work using airpen and incorporating script into her paintings. In fact, the script fascinates me. It adds texture and some shading as well as tells the story. I guess you could call her quilting "saga-quilting" (better that than sagging quilting!).
As an inveterate reader, I stand before her works for ages, reading what she has written.
Trained in traditional art, she usually goes beyond that. Her quilts are full of spiritualism. Her work incorporates bright colors and a playfulness. Usually, her people show their "third-eye".
The "Women of Haiti" seen here, I find breath taking. Consider that this piece is only 18" x 24", yet it has great depth and still incorporates her story telling. I think I may have accidentally insulted Susan, as I found this particular piece so different yet just the right touch from her usual works. Take a look at her gallery on her Turtle Moon Website and you'll see what I mean.
Here, her "Women of Haiti" utilizes restrained colors. The women appear strong, even while there is a hint of sadness. These are women who will do what they have to do under conditions that most of the world cannot imagine. Susan was inspired by Joe Dore's photographs on the Muncheez facebook album and drew her own images incorporating elements from many of his photographs. I find them captivating.
Haiti is beyond the understanding of most of us. A country which has been beset by a corrupt government and the lack of even the most basic of infrastructures. Our image of poverty in the U.S. doesn't even scratch the surface of the depth of poverty in Haiti.
Amid the devastation of the countryside from mudslides, hurricanes, and deforestation, the earthquake took away what little resources they had. How can seed and other necessities for everyday living come to the country so that they may feed themselves later on this year?
How can these people hope to fend off disease given the fact that there are no sanitary systems functioning? Where will they get clean water?
One enterprising soul is Gilbert Bailly who with his crew at Muncheez in Petitionville, Haiti have managed to feed 1,000 people a day. Gilbert has a Paypal page set up to accept donations to help fund his herculean effort. Check out his facebook page to learn more.
Gilbert's efforts with Muncheez has inspired the second of the two paintings, "Heros of Haiti." The color palette Susan uses here is more of what I think of when I think of Susan's work. I laughed to myself when she responded to an email I wrote to her by saying that much of her earlier work was more representational. Not surprising given her other work.
Happily, Susan had an anonymous donor put in an opening bid of $3,007 for the "Women of Haiti." The estimated retail value of these two pieces is $1,000 each, and so Susan put the opening bid at $500 each. "Heros of Haiti" is awaiting its first bid.
Haiti is also the focus of a larger scale piece entitled "The Garden of Haiti" and also two smaller works (16" x 20") on fabric as well.
I can't wait to see the other pieces as well as the amount of money that her donations ultimately bring at the auction on Friday.
Please consider bidding, or at least following. Consider donating to Muncheez, or one of the other organizations which is funneling money to Haiti. There is a link at the bottom of this blog which lists a few.
I think that I will be donating to Habitat for Humanity, Doctors without Borders and more to UMCOR. If you want to bid on Susan's work but can't make it to the auction, email me or leave a comment and I'll put you in touch with her....or you can go to her website or blog and reach her as well. Check out the Wayne Center for the Arts as well.
It's a pity that we weren't moved to help at this magnitude before the earthquake....but at least we can try to make a difference now.