Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Another Day, Another Rant

In general, I have never been a great visitor of Art Museums or Art exhibits.  One clear exception is when the exhibit makes a statement about our world or human existence.  Such an exhibit recently opened in Spokane so I planned a day to take in the sights of a new local artist.  It is behind glass in a old storefront window.  (I used pictures from the web as my pics were not particularly good in the poor lighting and glass reflection)  Photos courtesy Stiggy Art.

Pic by Spokesman Review
  The Artist, Austin Stiegemeier, hailing from Rathdrum, Idaho recently opened the display he entitled "Violet is an Anagram of Love it."  (An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once.)

With the possession laden grocery carts and cardboard dwellings, the display makes a very public statement about poverty and urban decay and the way homeless people are treated in our society. 

Made entirely of recycled or abandoned materials, the symbolism between the materials and homelessness is easily recognized.

In a town that criminalizes homeless behaviors such as sitting or laying on a sidewalk, there is plenty to be said.  

"Violet conveyed a number of complex ideas at once. It’s a condemnation of the city’s controversial sit-lie ordinance. It’s an examination of poverty in our city. It’s a visualization of the queasy juxtaposition between the 9-to-5 life of downtown business executives and the panhandlers squatting in front of the high-rise office buildings where they work." (from the Spokesman Review, November 2 2014, in a feature article titled Art Installation About Poverty, Urban Decay.)

 Many people argue living on the street is often a 'choice' made after a lifetime of poor choices, 
What of those for whom there is no other option?
  Often we do not want to see the devastation that others face daily in their lives.  Does it cause  people to feel uncomfortable?

In a land that seems to have a growing list of thou shall nots, a 90 year old man, Arnold Abbott was arrested for feeding homeless people in public.  He vows to continue feeding the hungry with his last breath. 
"As Martin Luther King Jr., said, our responsibility is to disobey unjust laws," 25-year-old Nikki Rye, one of the three who was arrested with Abbott, told the Sun-Sentinel.
 "These actions violate basic human rights."
Visitors to the exhibit were invited to contiribute to the exhibit.  
(Note... those lying or sitting on the sidewalk were not arrested.)

All that remains is to outlaw all remaining expressions of dignity, compassion and humanity.

 Another Anagram for the day


 Use all the letters........


It seems somehow appropriate for the day.


  1. Karen, love this post! Also love the anagrams. By the way, the above comment on boycotting women is a troll, in case you do not know. He has posted the same on several blogs... Hope all is well!

  2. Very interesting and thought provoking Karen. The laws we do and do not have are just amazing. I guess they really show something about our value systems. Fracking and destroying the water table is OK but feeding people in public is not. I despair for our country.

  3. Great post. I received the boycotting women twice and turned the jerk in. What is wrong with feeding these homeless people, We make them hats,scarves,blanket and collect old jackets, sweaters and flannel shirts for them. No one has said anything to us about it. I have seen people bring them food too. Of course I live somewhere else so maybe our laws aren't so tight.

  4. When I lived in San Diego, they opened a shelter every evening (maybe only on very cold nights, I'm not sure) where the homeless people could sleep out of the cold. I thought that was really nice, and wouldn't it be a good thing for all cities to do for people who have no place safe to sleep? There was a time in the morning that they all had to be gone, but they could come back the next time they needed it.