"Obamaland #3: Nobel Peace Prize." full view
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"Obamaland #3: Nobel Peace Prize.” 2010
48.5"h x 35.5"w. Peace Cozy #31
Began 12-28-09. Finished 1-6-10. #380 detail views.
Whole cloth painting on fabric. Airbrush drawing and coloring with fabric paint, then airpen writing with fabric paint. Machine crazy grid quilted. One row of hand sewing inside edge of border, using perle cotton. One Green Temple Buddha Boy bead. One Peace Cozy appliqué.
Story: Finally I’ve finished the third and final piece in my Obamaland series for Peg Keeney’s “A Sense of Place” landscape art quilt exhibition, which will open in September, 2010 and then tour. When invited to do this series, I knew right away that my first piece would be President Obama’s inauguration, using the swearing-in ceremony at the Washington Mall as my vertical landscape. I included his whole acceptance sppech, along with my own diary and commentary at that time in the writing on this piece.
After completing “Obamaland #1: The Inauguration” in Feb, 2009, I waited for another “obvious” Obama landscape to make itself known, and when he gave his Middle East speech in Egypt, I decided to show him in front of the Great Pyramids and write his speech there on the piece. I did, but it soon morphed into issues swirling around the Iranian election of June 12, 2009. I joined Twitter, just to keep up with the messages coming out of Iran, re the protests and government crackdown, and recorded much of this on that piece, “Obamaland #2: Speech in Egypt.”
Then I waited for a third Obama landscape idea to show itself, and was thrilled to decide on his Nobel Peace Prize, as soon as I heard of his being awarded it, on October 9, 2009. I waited until after he received his medal in Oslo on December 10, to start my piece, so that I could write his whole acceptance speech on the piece, which I did, along with my comments and diary, on “Obamaland #3: Nobel Peace Prize,” this piece.
First I needed an Oslo iconic image to use in the composition, and happily found pictures of the Nobel Centre, where all the history of the prize is recorded, along with an Obama exhibition that will be open until this September. The beautiful old building would fit nicely into the top part of the piece, above Obama’s profile. Then I found images of the gold medal which was awarded to President Obama, and also put that into my sketches and reference files.
But what to put in the bottom of the piece, to balance the building at the top? My cousin Candice had given me a set of small white plastic swans, which her mother had saved since my brother Larry’s wedding in 1964. The swans had held Jordan almonds at Larry and Donna’s wedding reception, and Aunt Pauline had carefully saved all five of the favors her family had received then. Now Candice gave them to me, to give to Donna. But as I looked at the swans sitting in a group on my kitchen shelf, I was awed by their graceful beauty, and how peaceful they made me feel. I decided to sketch them for the image at the bottom of “Obamaland #3.”
To me, the five swans symbolize Peace, floating gracefully out in front of President Obama, who so elegantly represents our nation’s hope to bring real peace and cooperation back to the world. The Nobel Committee awarded Obama this prize, because they felt he truly embodies the traits of a Nobel peace laureat, which Alfred Nobel included in his will. Nobel disposed the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
As I transcribed each word of Obama’s acceptance speech onto this piece, my opinion is that the Nobel Committee chose the right person. Obama discussed the War in Afghanistan to great length in the speech, calling it a just war, because we have to make the world safe for everyone. He emphasized the need for strong power being given to the UN, to bring nations together to work to control violent tendencies of rogue nations, and to bring them back into the fold of universal cooperation. As a pacifist, I truly hate the wars we are involved in, but consider that I am not the one or ones having to make decisions based on much more knowledge of the situations than I have. I only hope for as soon of an end to these wars as is possible. I pray for peace for all of the world, and for harmony to somehow be the outcome.
I put my 31st Peace Cozy patch onto this piece, as I finished it. I had to wait to think about where it should go on the piece, til it was almost all done (this is my own rule.) I chose to put it on one of the swans, to symbolize them sailing out ahead of Obama, ushering in a new calm and peace and unity in the world, so that we can focus on what is most urgently needed: healing the earth and giving human rights to all.
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