"Obamaland #2: Speech in Egypt." detail view
by Susan Shie Contact me
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"Obamaland #2: Speech in Egypt.” 2009 51"h x 35 "w
#374 Peace Cozy #29
Begun 6-13-09, fiinished 7-22-09. full view.
Materials: Whole cloth painting on white Kona cotton, fabric paint. Cotton machine thread, Fairfield's bamboo and organic cotton batting. Perle cotton embroidery thread. One green temple Buddha Boy bead.
Techniques: Freehand drawing and painting made with airbrush and fabric paint. Small journal writing made with airpen and fabric paint. Machine quilting with Mettler cotton thread. Hand stitching (just on the border) with DMC perle cotton.
“Obamaland #2: Speech in Egypt” is part of a three piece set, with #s 1 and 3 also being Obamaland pieces, same approximate size, with all being landscapes of historical markers in the first year of President Obama’s first year in office. “Obamaland #1: The Inauguration” shows Obama being sworn into office as the 44th president of The United States, with the First Lady holding the Lincoln Bible, and with the Washington Monument in the background. The landscape is the Washington Mall. “Obamaland #3: Nobel Peace Prize” will be about President Obama receiving his prize in Oslo, Norawy in December.
In this piece “ … Speech in Egypt,” I began with the premise that Obama was giving a speech about the Middle East, in the landscape of Egypt, and I knew that he had toured the Great Pyramids during that trip. So I merged the ideas. I put the three Great Pyramids behind him, and the Great Sphinx to his right. On his left I painted Lawrence of Arabia, as I’d just watched that movie, and I knew that Lawrence would love how Obama wants to bring all of us together. Lawrence was trying very hard to bring the Arabic peoples together, to help them stop their infighting, in the early part of the twentieth century.
I put a big camel underneath Obama, and it’s just going across a blank desert. I'm using it as a symbol of patience, endurance, survival, and adaptability.
I put my Peace Coxy (the little yellow square of fabric with a peace symbol painted on it) on Obama’s forehead, to show his determination. I feel that his vision is that of an idealist. His goal of world peace is focused, and he perceives it as being attainable, and therefore attempts to achieve bringing it about for our whole world. I don’t know if he can do it, but I am so glad he is trying! I think his diplomatic stance will go along way in helping to bring the earth much closer to cooperative nationshood. I think what matters is that Obama is trying very hard to bring nations together in discussions, and that he respects all people.
I mix my own diary and news of the days in which I’’m creating my pieces. On this piece, I began with writing Obama’s speech in Egypt, which he gave at a university in Cairo, on the pyramids themselves. But soon it was June 12, and the election in Iran was corrupted and then challenged by millions of Iranians who knew that Prsident Ahmadinejad had been wrongfully declared Presidet for the second time. The students and other dissidents began to protest and demand a recount of the election.
Soon I was all caught up in this crisis, and my writing of the long Obama speech in Egypt came to a screeching halt in the middle of it, and I switched to telling what was going on in Iran, which is part of the Middle East, which is what President Obama’s speech was about anyhow – peace in the Middle East.
I became a member on Twitter, just so I could read what the protesters were saying in Iran. Their cell phones were jammed, and the only way they were getting their stories out to the rest of the world was through Twitter. Thirty or more students and other protesters were killed during the protest rallies and in prison in Iran this summer. Hundreds were imprisioned and are being tried in a mass trial. Ahmadinejad was sworn in as President again, amid huge splits in the government officials’ opinions about what to do. The situation is not resolved, as I write this in November, 2009. But a new generation of Iranians want the freedom of speech and the right of honest elections that they know the West has. They won’t give up.
Other diary writings and musings written on this piece include the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, and of the huge hippie concert at Woodstock. It’s really been 40 years. And we’re still not any closer to world peace. But we must keep trying.
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