Child of War
Artist: Geena Massaro
Location: Rochester, NY
Details: Fired Stoneware
The two pieces I am submitting are entitled "Blue Feet" and "Child of War".
For me, they are both very loaded objects.
They are both ceramic sculptures.
I no longer have access to a kiln or functional space for claybuilding (I used to have a work study at Pratt's ceramic studio) so, unfortunately, I no longer create objects like this.
My claybuilding technique is very aggressive. I dig and push with my hands to find a form. I claw or stab away (with sharpened clay tools, pencils or whatever object that I might find useful) to get the image that I want. I work heavy, usually just excavating full pugged clay logs and then smashing things together. This is very impractical but I like to utilize the error that might come from my carelessness as part of the process. It's a balance between chaos and refinement. I consider sculpture to be much like drawing and I consider the contour of my pieces and the shadow shapes they consequently project to be like drawings in space that create another context for the physical object.
As stated before, these two pieces were created for my senior thesis exhibition in 2016 which was a personal diaristic inquiry about the refugee crisis in Syria and the Syrian civil war.
Witnessing the events and the trauma of the people affected exclusively through media and pictures and feeling sick and unable to help directly made me want to enact on a project to create awareness surrounding the plight of the refugees and reflect on the viciousness of war and its part in us as a species and as an evolving limb of our nature- and to question this nature openly.
The "Blue Feet" were originally in dialogue with another pair- which I referred to as the Mother pair. The Blue Feet represent a child who is displaced from their land and their culture and must walk into someone else's world and find a way to make it their own. The Mother pair were placed on a wall above the Blue Feet. The Mother pair had a red string that led to the Blue Feet which represented the trauma of the lost home and the impact of history. Unfortunately, I broke the Mother pair moving back home. The Blue Feet no longer possess the same context but they still represent the same idea.
"Child of War" is a portrait inspired by a syrian girl I had seen in a picture I found online. She is being held on a bench by a wounded man. I couldn't see if she had suffered physical harm herself but I saw heavy anguish in her expression and imagined that she had and she became a symbol of atrocity and pain in my experience of the image and in my imagination. I built her to fit my body, as I was becoming the mother responsible for this object that represented the emotional traumas of another physical body that I will never meet in person.
She was displayed laying in a bed with a broken horse sculpture I had made. Her shadow shape projected on the wall mixed with the shape of the horse's shadow to create an amorphic landscape that resembled ruins.
This object has as well been removed from that context but still performs as a portrait of the pain of war that I still wonder if we can fully evolve out of as a species.
I am very happy to be sharing work for this fundraiser and grateful to you for organizing it.
I worked in an underfunded preschool after college as an art teacher. I had to buy the majority of materials myself for my classroom. This obviously put me and my students at a disadvantage. I currently work in a special education center as a teacher's aide. I am committed to evolving our education approaches and advocate for more funding to schools that suffer and receive less than others. Education should be equally accessible. Materials should be equally distributed. Our whole education system truly needs reform and a little action goes a long way.
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