Diversity in the blink of an eye – Artist’s Statement
My one-woman exhibition, ‘Vielfalt im Augenblick’ [Diversity in the blink of an eye], is open from November 2016 through mid-January 2017. [This is the Artist’s Statement (download pdf here; auf Deutsch hier).]
We see others as different.
We see differently from others.
This mosaic of views and viewpoints displays the richness of our society.
We are living in interesting times, an epoch in which it seems many people are closing their ears and eyes to other people. This is not a new phenomenon. However, now is a time to build bridges across differences, in experience and culture, in expectations, hopes, and sadnesses. It is we who create our societies, our histories, our conflicts, and compassion. We can choose to insist on seeing the world in our habitual way, or to open them to the views of others. It is impossible to force uniformity on any human population; it is up to all of us to make our world a place where we celebrate our diversity.
A butterfly wing is made up of many tiny scales, fragile, shining and colourful, on top of membranes which contain arteries and veins. Many butterflies’ wings have different designs on each side, so the butterfly can rest in camouflage or show bright colours when flying. Moths, on the other hand, often have camouflage on both sides of their wings.
Who among us does not need to sparkle, to be beautiful, to take sustenance from perfumed and colourful flowers, and also to rest and be in camouflage?
Photography captures appearances, the surface. We see everywhere pictures of what is beautiful, or aesthetically pleasing. However, photography as an art must show more than the surface: art delves into the meaning, the interior life of the subject. The look in an eye. Or something reflected in a mirror held at the heart. The background story, of life with loss or adventure, ability and disability, effort and goals.
Our world is so diverse – whether we think of people, nations, or all the species in nature. And our viewpoints are also divergent, multi-sided, evolving, changeable. From childhood to teen years to adulthood; from learner to teacher; from a home culture to a culture where one is a guest, perhaps to another home where one is a stranger at first.
Two laws of nature are reflected in this exhibition:
diversity enriches a community, and
living requires change.
In difficult times, people may harken back to a glorious past. However, although it may feel soothing, it is impossible to return to the past. We are part of nature, and nature – life – requires change. Any animal or plant that stops changing, growing, letting parts die and be replaced, is unable to live. It is the same with human beings in our social settings: we change, learn about a new culture, feel afraid of something new, develop a new understanding, have time only for one topic… I don’t have to agree with you to hear you; and it is impossible to consider a different point of view until I have listened to it. Integration of migrants often assumes that the host culture is fairly uniform or homogeneous. But it is more a mosaic of hopes, dreams, experiences, offerings, and disappointments.
The mosaic is composed of people, alone with the photographer and together interacting; of butterflies and moths; of the structures we have created out of our togetherness: trains and buildings, furniture and the movement of lights.
The relationship between the three sizes of prints in the mosaic is determined by the golden ratio. The name reminds me of the golden rule, which is common to most religions: do to others as you would like them to do to you; be compassionate towards one another.