You know you are in mainland China when an official points a plastic gun at your forehead in a train station. She is taking your temperature for H1N1 flu, but no one tells you this.
A sign says “we will provide maximum spiritual and physical encouragement for your cooperation with laws prohibiting the transportation of illegal substances.” Amie, a western artist has already had her fruit confiscated from her bag, and as a result the rest of us are delayed.
Moving Cultures, our group of seventeen Chinese and western artists, linguists, and musicians is a mix especially confounding to officials in a place where Chinese and foreigners don’t vacation together. My collage art materials—shattered glass, bits of paper—will interpret this unpredictable experiment. As foreigners, we must be vigilant self-editors or risk embarrassing our hosts. Painting messages of “free Tibet” means an abrupt end to a trip already postponed a year due to the Olympic protests. < next >
By two o'clock, it was ninety-something degrees. This was the cooler time of year in the desert. More than sixty artists from the region and beyond were descending upon Sharjah, a tiny private country on the tip of Arabia. Artists from Iraq, Iran, America, Brazil, Italy, Germany and elsewhere were touching down.
We were in a dream-like state of scorching jet-lag checking into hotels, negotiating taxis, searching for the museum, inspecting crates, and grabing a bite of lamb or hummus in between.
The A/C wasn't working in the gallery. The only good thing about this situation was that people could speak English and that my art was here. The staff ignored, cajoled, and soothed us from the control tower of the Sharjah Art Museum, the ruler's private art collection.
Many hands at the direction of the curator Isabel Carlos placed my mother's poetry and my paintings onto the walls. We called it "Inheritance: Reclaiming Land and Spirit." < next >