Natural Disasters

Japan.  About a year later.  Like clockwork something else happens, something catastrophic.  Earthquakes, flooding, fires, the threat of nuclear fallout, the balance of the built environment and the toll of natural disasters keeps shifting and horrible things continue to occur.  I live in a tiny little bubble in the northeast of the United States.  None of these horrific events have touched me physically.  I’ve known people, personally, who have been affected by disasters, but it has never been me.

And life continues.  I’m going to my studio this afternoon, because short of me flying around the world to Japan, there is nothing, physically, that I can do to help.  Donating money does help, but my day to day existence has not changed because of this earthquake.

And this is weird.  It feels wrong, somehow.

And so I make new work.  Unfortunately, this may become a new series, long term.  My way of coping and dealing with these world-changing events that are so remote that I can go weeks without even thinking about what’s happened, yet there are whole populations whose entire lives have been irrevocably changed in the span of hours.  My way of acknowledging my distance, both physically and emotionally from something so monumental.

These are coming out very differently than my Deepwater Horizon series.  There, the images were of this body of water that was fundamentally being altered, even though it was difficult to see from the surface.  Here, the devastation is so visible, so impactful, that there is a more chaotic feel to the work.  Also, the immediate human loss is much more pronounced, so there are a more people finding their way into the images.

Signing off…..


1 Response to “Natural Disasters”

  1. March 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Amy I know how you feel, or at least I did until February 22, the day our beautiful city of Christchurch, ‘The Garden City’ was devastated by an earthquake that leveled much of the downtown and suburban areas.

    I live many miles south of Christchurch so life goes on pretty much as it had before, except for some products and services being disrupted. It’s not until I see the images of collapsed buildings, knowing that bodies still lie beneath the rubble that it fully comes home.

    The Yin to this Yang is that the city has become a series of villages, with neighbours who barely knew each other, now sharing food, water and support. Farmers from around the country have travelled to the city with tractors, food and muscle to help clear debris and lend support where ever they’re needed. The same for women’s groups of all kinds from floral art clubs to Rural Women’s Institutes, all with sleeves rolled up, their own bedding and crates of food ready to cook for the displaced. Out of disaster an entire country has rediscovered it’s humanity and connectedness.

    Today is March 20, a day we’ve been facing with trepidation and some curiosity for it has been predicted that we will experience another quake on or near this date. Something to do with the moons apogee, a once every 18 year event when it is closest to our region. My little town of Cromwell, Central Otago has been mentioned in the prediction. It’s a beautiful autumn day and so difficult to imagine chaos on a day such as this.

    And Japan? The saddest image I hold is the faces of the Japanese rescue team, exhausted after weeks of round the clock toil in Christchurch, boarding the plane home to their own horror. God Bless them and keep them safe.

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