Saturday, December 03, 2005

Child of Desire

This unsigned panel was the sole surviving piece of a student mural at Desire Street Academy, part of Desire Street Ministries. Photo courtesy of Steve Crow, who took this while volunteering in the area. I think this speaks of and in a way nothing else I have seen can approach.

Until you understand this panel, there's is nothing that George Rodrigue's Blue Dog or displays of Toxic Art can do to save you. You first have to understand the despair the people of the Dome and Convention Center sometimes knew long before Aug. 28. You have to understand the despair of coming home to a ruined home on a wasted street in a neighborhood destroyed. You have to understand the despair of watching America abandon the city, hundreds of thousands of it citizens. You have to understand that New Orleans is on it's own.

Until this young man and everyone like him can lift up their faces and stand and take the first steps toward the future, there will be no recovery. It doesn't matter if those steps are taken in New Orleans or Houston or Atlanta, there will be no healing until he and all like him are healed.

There will be no rebuilding until this artist comes home to stay, and a decade from now takes his children down to the 'hood to see this piece once again mounted. There will be no recovery until he can stand before this and say, proudly, I made that, out of this place and the life of this place, just like I made the house you live in and the life you have in this city, just like I made you someone who can be proud, living in a place to be proud of. Out of despair you can make something beautiful.
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I think that unsigned panel is as eloquent a statement as anything I've seen. The subject's despair speaks to, and for, us all.

Thanks for sharing it.
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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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