This body of work arose out of my MFA thesis, Possibilities of Transforming the Paradigm, and my clarity that to be an artist I must first be a citizen of this deeply troubled world and a lover of its beauty and uncertainty. Foundational was the rejection of the Cartesian paradigm; the necessity of paradox; the embrace of the trinity of known, unknown, and unknowable; and the centrality of the inner pathway to outer change. The coherence of my formal language and use of material evolved to hold this content.
In these pieces, I explored paradigm transformation through specific events of that time: the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the quest to classify rape as a war crime in the aftermath of the Bosnia Hercegovina War and its hideous rape camps; the survivors' testimonies and the silenced voices of the millions of survivors in our midst; the juxtaposition of the Albanian refugees driven from Kosovo with the loss of migratory bird habitats.
In 1997, I saw the film Calling the Ghosts: A Story About Rape, War and Women, a multilayered documentary not only about the historical classification of rape as a war crime but also the problems of telling one's story as a survivor. If I Speak … twines roles of witness, survivor, and perpetrator and challenges our propensity to not recognize ourselves among those three. The wall mounted mirror and the paper thin clay folios that hung in front of them became my way into disrupting that separation. Text appears on the front and reverse sides of the clay sheets, two layers that unfold the testimony of survivors and the meta question: to speak or not speak. The viewer sees his/her own visage in the mirror as s/he leans in to read the story unfolding in real time/space.