|Posted by Nikki Yeager on February 2, 2010 at 4:13 PM|
I decided to post descriptions of each piece of art I've created on my blog. Why? Because I've been told it helps sell pieces and a thousand people ask me 'what does it mean?' on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I burn out of the same description around time 149. Therefore, you'll find the descriptions on my blog and it will save my enthusiasm for when it's really important. Like at a show.
Real Life is Trash :
I did this piece in 2009 after coming back from the Bahamas. While in the Bahamas I worked for a non-profit, the Harvest Foundation. Like all of my trips, I was pretty unaware of the local culture before moving to the Caribbean, but then again, I think the only real way to understand a culture is by immersing oneself in it. Sort of a catch-22. You have to go unprepared to become prepared.
Anyways, I got there and things were a mess. The organization had been down for a few months prior to my arrival, the community center had been uprooted and moved, the community was unaware of any changes. Plus, the underlying issues were 10 times what I imagined.
First of all, the government in the Bahamas is atrocious at best. Like all small countries it takes a good 10 months to do what should take 10 hours (no exaggeration). All is fine and well with that philosophy until foreigners come in and think they can make a difference by working in a typically foreign way- which is exactly what happens to NGOs.Thankfully the woman who founded Harvest Foundation Bahamas had a pretty decent head on a her shoulders and while not everything was perfect her ideas were really well founded. She really wanted to develop the community and help them pull themselves up. It was a lovely notion.
While trying to get the organization to work out in her vision, I started noticing the world around me. Bribery, inefficiency, censorship, etc. It was a mess.
So one day I was sitting down and talking to a friend. My friend showed me a few pictures taken a while back. During the last huge hurricane (04 or 06 I can't remember), most of the island was wiped out. The airport was damaged, people were hungry, a full blown catastrophe took over.
Like we always do, the big countries started throwing money on the issue like there was no tomorrow. We gave food and milk and water and clothing. We sent thousands to millions of dollars every day. We blindly opened out pocket books and assumed our life savings we poured into the country would make everything better- because after all, what else can happen with billions in donations?
Well, let me answer that for you. Billions of dollars given to a country with a well-oiled government can change the lives of millions. Billions given to the Bahamas during a natural disaster does very little. In fact, the freight ships full of clothing never reached the citizens. From what I've seen and what I was told, those freight ships came up with bundles of pants, shirts and underwear and then dropped the items at the dock. At the dock the items were picked up and driven to distribution warehouses and prepared for delivery. Trucks continued to bring more and more shipments to the distribution centers preparing for handouts, people talked about all the progress that was happening, bodies stopped being found on waterlogged beaches.
Go to the Bahamas and try to track the clothing down- you'll find it rotting in abandoned buildings and decayed warehouses. It's still there, it never helped anyone. Things started calming down and the donations were forgotten. Because real life doesn't work in the rest of the world like it does for us Americans. Real life doesn't always mean money=help.
Real life can become a whole bunch of t-shirts sitting in a warehouse. It can become trash.
Which boils it down to my piece- Real Life is Trash.
Note the stacks of molded clothing in the background and the frustrated man covering his face in the front. We can see it happening but there's often little we can do.
How it was made:
Stretched Canvas with a garbage bag adhered to the top. Brown translucent paint to add color.
Then I glued a picture of the clothing to the garbage bag, transferred a photo of the man on top and outlined his details in white paint/black markers. The 'Real' is done in acrylic.
Signed at the bottom and ready to go.
359.00, stretched canvas, ready to hang
Art Description Une : My teacher can be found on my previous blog post.