Saturday, September 13, 2014

Art Blog: LEGACY

I remember the day the space shuttle blew up on January 28, 1986. I had been teaching all morning and I was on my school lunch hour sitting at a red light. The news was on the radio. It felt like I was stung by a million bees. After finishing teaching the rest of my afternoon classes, I left school. I drove to my Dad's house. I walked in, saw him drinking his beer at the table. The first thing he said to me was "Where did all those brains go?" My daddy was not an academic. He never finished school. Instead, he worked in printing factories for his entire life. Yet, he had a very primal wisdom. "Where did all those brains go?" This was his less than elegant way of asking what happens when we die. We accumulate all this knowledge. Then, we die and are silenced. Our physical bodies give out. Where does our essence go?

This week my best art friend died. Her name was Gilda Snowden. I cannot start to tell you what a phenomenal woman she was. I met her in the mid 70's at Wayne State University. We were comrades in undergrad and grad school. We have maintained our friendship for nearly 40 years. Her sudden and unexpected death has left a hole in my heart. She was more than just a friend. She was part of my spirit.

When I heard of her death, I remembered what my dad had said. "Where did all those brains go?" I thought of this because Gilda's foremost goal was to be a scholar. She wanted to be smart about art and life. OH, she attained her goal. She was one of the smartest people I know. I could talk to her about anything and everything. This is a rare gift. I too am a knowledge seeker. Sometimes I feel all alone because I think of things nobody else cares about. Gilda always did. So where do those brains go? Every day when I am teaching, I am met with smiling faces ready to make art. Gilda had the same thing happen. We all touch lives. We share tidbits of knowledge and experience. Those seeds are scattered into the Universe. Everything we do and share is distributed all over our worlds. Little pieces of us are floating in the air and caught by the people we touch. That is the answer Daddy.

The happiest thing for me is just weeks ago, I sent her a crown for her 60th birthday.
On the day it arrived, she put it on and sent this photo to me.
I will always love you Gilda.