I'm a community artist, I usually work in my own community, and on the occasions when I have working in communities other than my own I had been contacted by that community to make and art work for and with them.
This memorial I was taking on to bring to Gaza would hopefully enrich their community, but how was I going to interact with them? The idea of a western artist bringing in her vision and dropping off a large public art work and then leaving it there did not sit well with me.
The email communication began between myself and CODEPINK and between CODEPINK and their connections in Gaza. We started with an image from a poster from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza. Eventually we decided that there would be 1415 stars in the sky representing the Palestinian casualties from last winters offensive called "Cast Lead".
At some point in the process it was determined that a horizontal format would be better and that it would be good if we could memorialize the international communities coming together for the Gaza Freedom March. This is when I called Anna Oneglia. Anna is a Santa Cruz artist who travels the world and does remarkable paintings and drawings of people in the places they call home. Anna added 9 figures to the original drawing we got from the PCHR.
The digital image went back and forth for comment and revisions. It saddened me that the only image that got changed was the one from the PCHR. In the original poster one of the women has flowing hair and the suggestion of a breast. Both of those details have been modified.
It has been stressful saving the 400+ hours of glass placement to the month before departure. But communication is key to a successful community art work.
The latest communication I have received was from Tighe Barry who reported that there were squeals of delight and excitement when my facebook page was shared.
I'm getting excited too, I can't wait to meet them. See original photo here http://www.pchrgaza.org/images/posters/36.JPG