Responding to the Difficult
An artistic response to violence is difficult, not something I would usually consider doing. However, the idea for “He Does Not Play” had been stuck in my mind for over a year and simply needed to be created The result is the mixed media quilt shown here.
The painted central figure was inspired by a 15th century tarot card, symbolizing the limited life of humans as well as animals, plants, and the other elements of our planet. This fact connects us and influences our lives.
The cheerful childlike colors of the appliquéd felts—blue, yellow, red, and turquoise—are attractive and inviting. Look closer, however: not all games are harmless. What recently happened in Parkland, the safest city in Florida, has happened in other parts of the U.S.
I live near to a town in California where a former student held his schoolmates hostage, eventually killing four people and injuring ten. In this case, the shooter was despondent about losing his job and was angered that he failed to graduate from high school. He said that he was out of touch with reality.
Many other young people have been severely misguided by the extreme violence they see in films and computer games (symbolized by the CDs).
Maybe these shooters imagine that after the show is over, everybody will get up and go home. (The black netting symbolizes this entanglement.) But this is not the case. Once a heart stops beating, once a life has been ended, no one can undo this.
My sympathies to everybody, especially the victims, whose lives have been touched by random acts of violence.
For more details about the art quilt, see ttp://www.mariabillings.com/interactive-reflective-fiber-art
The last two photos are provided by Visual Simplicity.