While watching the pretty, painted boats that glide along the Ganges, one of India's most sacred rivers, I envisioned them as transport to a transcendent state offered by the beloved river goddess. Hindus believe when mortal souls die in this sacred place they are released from the cycle of rebirth, and obtain ultimate liberation. While I was watching the Ganges boats, the European migrant crisis was just beginning. Soon over a million people fled terror and conflict in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries by crowding into flimsy boats.
I decided to fashion small, but seaworthy boats to honor all boat people.
This idea has a personal side, since being born in the USA, means I come from a country of boat people, with the sole exception of the American Indians. I was also personally involved with the plight of Haitian boatpeople in the 1990's, which left an unforgettable impression on me.
Both my video and my visual installation boat are dedicated to the people who have no other choice but to make dangerous journeys in small boats in their struggle to find freedom. My boats represent themes of death, loneliness, beauty, freedom, life and the reality that nothing lasts forever. Boats are vehicles of travel, transcendence and transition. Some boats are rumored to sail through the air by shamans from Indonesia to South America who describe mystical boats that travel through time and space.
I screened this piece "boat" at the 2015 ghetto Biennale in Port au Prince, Haiti, in Athens , Ohio and By Land or by Sea @ LACE in Los Angeles