socially engaged work
“Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more humane world.”
I firmly believes that art can be a source of good in the world.
Through raising awareness and/or raising money for the causes closest to her heart and through engaging with community projects and encouraging inclusivity, art can change the world.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to have been asked to create various large scale murals for organizations across the globe. Below are some I am most proud of.
On Valentine’s Day, 2011, the Shia majority took to the streets and thousands of people occupied the Pearl Roundabout for weeks of protest and demonstrations. The country was in turmoil, with burning tyres and tear gas, and looting and vandalism of both Sunni and Shia businesses and schools. Universities closed. Many expats were immediately evacuated. I won’t comment on Bahraini politics here, but I wanted to bear witness to what was happening, (and after this experience, I will never trust most of the western press to report with any insight, depth or care about anything.)At the Pearl Roundabout, the demonstrations were peaceful and positive.
In June, 2006, I was commissioned to create a mural for a windowless room in the children’s section of the beautiful Redwood City Public Library. (I was born in Redwood City, incidentally.) My idea was to work with a carpenter, Stuart Habley, to recreate window frames to match the existing architecture, and to then paint “Literary Landscapes” outside the windows, landscapes that a reader might imagine when reading a novel. The first was going to be based on the work of local author, John Steinbeck. But political events changed my idea…
the Plastic Bottle-top Project
Doha, Qatar, 2012
In 2011, my friend Dr. Sarah Clarke invited me to design a mural to be made out of plastic bottle tops. It was a site-specific work for the very up-market shopping mall, “The Pearl” in Doha, Qatar. The Pearl is committed to environmentally friendly waste management. I visited the site and saw that there was nowhere to display a normal flat mural, so came up with the idea of creating a free-standing octagonal structure of 8 8’ x 4’ panels.
Pakistan School Library Mural
Isa Town, Bahrain, 2011
In February, 2011, the Pakistan Women’s Association, invited me to create a mural for the library at the Pakistan School in Bahrain. They had developed a wonderful English language reading program called “Reading Rocks” for the sons and daughters of the many migrant Pakistani workers in Bahrain. For these students, especially the girls, education and especially speaking and reading English, is a passport out of a life of hardship and poverty. I have the deepest respect for the volunteer work these Pakistani women do every week and their vision.