|The notion of transforming sorrow was kindled in my consciousness a few of years ago when I read a book of poetry by Vahé Vahian, a childhood teacher of mine from Beirut, entitled A Monument to My Son.
As I became immersed in this epic lamentation, I found myself reading it out loud and being enamored with the beauty and intonation of the Armenian language. What riveted me most, however, was the immeasurable humanity and compassion of the poet.
Despite the enormity of the tragedies in Vahé Vahian’s life – i.e. loss of his ancestral homeland and parents to a genocide at the turn of the last century; orphanage and the exilic predicament; witnessing both Lebanese Civil Wars, the fratricide of his fellow countrymen, and the violent death of his son in a car crash - he transcended his grief and experienced a rebirth through writing poetry.
This transformation occurs as the poet’s heart and mind open to embrace the “mountainous grief of mankind.” After taking us through a journey of sorrow the poem arrives at a reconciliatory moment where Vahé Vahian adopts all victims of loss and pain as his own child, irrespective of race, color, flag, or faith. He becomes a universal poet.
Like Vahé Vahian, embracing all victims of bigotry and hatred has also been the driving force of my life and work (see projects outlined in my bio). The atrocities that continue in places like Gaza, Syria, Mexico, Nigeria etc. transfer grief beyond geographical borders and beg for transnational resolutions.
|Today more than ever before, tools to universally mourn loss and pain have become a necessity.
TRANSFOURMING Sorrow is an invitation not only to mourn but also transform our individual and collective sorrow.
My own quest for universality and transcendence began in earnest in the 1970s when I left a successful career in the corporate world of multi-media communication and moved to upstate New York.
I was introduced to direct carving and have devoted my life to this path of personal transformation ever since. Somewhere along this journey of living closer with the laws of nature, where one depends on a more balanced utility of all the third dimensions of the five senses, I came to realize the counter productiveness and limitations of two-dimensional, linear, means of communication such as national alphabets, film and television, and later computers.
While contemplating the dilemma of two-dimensional alphabets, I discovered the third dimension of my two hands and the principle of the stress point of a lifeline while bending a twig. This marked a profound change in the way I interact with the world around me and led to the development of my Tools – a three-dimensional communication system comprised of four forms that have their genesis in the quaternary, the ancient symbol of creation. My Tools have enabled me to communicate with all perceived ‘others’ and to experience a rebirth by defining a new kinship with all humanity. I have applied this principle of TRANSFOURMATION in successive series of works utilizing various combinations of the Tools.