Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A is for America (Alphabetica Batik)

 A is for America
Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 8 X 10 / NFS
American icons:  the flag, the bald eagle, the Lincoln memorial, ...    I was wondering how to reduce the idea of what America means to me into one image, but that's impossible.

I thought the Statue of Liberty would be a good choice because she represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.    July 4, 1776, the most important date in American history, is inscribed on the tablet she holds.  She carries a torch to light the way and has broken shackles at her feet.  She represents freedom from tyranny and oppression.  Liberty is so much more than a welcome mat.
Many years ago, I vacationed in Hawaii and visited another historic landmark.  Unwillingly (it interfered with my sunbathing schedule), I was dragged over to the USS Arizona Memorial in Oahu.  I was a 24 year old brat who thought the world revolved around her.

After being there, however, I realized the enormity of sacrifice and horrific events yet to come for my parents' generation.  I left in tears.  I was a different person.

Although I've never been to New York, a visit to the Statue of Liberty would be pretty meaningful as well.   The Statue of Liberty as an American icon is not cliche.  I can only imagine how millions of European immigrants felt when they first laid eyes on her in New York Harbor. 
Three of my four grandparents witnessed the majesty of Liberty after that long voyage across the Atlantic.  Why did I never ask them about that experience?

14 comments:

  1. Powerful and sensitive post. I am an immigrant too - I went to the statue and it was a pretty emotional experience. I love this country.
    PS..My kids never ask about my journey either. I have never thought about it until reading your thoughts.

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  2. How absolutely stunning! Your thoughts on Lady Liberty echo my own and the sight of this statue has brought tears to my own eyes...as did Mt. Rushmore...Just the majesty, the awe, the ideas...

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  3. Thank you. I hope you tell them, Julie.

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  4. Thank you, Sherry. I hope we never forget.

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  5. Wow! LOVE this post Chris!!!
    and this painting is outstanding and emotional especially the way we feel about our Country! I have followed my family all the way back to the 1600 and such interesting stories goes along with it.. I think everyone should do this if they can..thank you for sharing...

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  6. Beautiful painting and a great start to this alphabet series!

    I love your thoughts on the statue and what it meant to those seeking a new (and safer) life.

    My parents were immigrants to the UK and it was only after my father died, that we learned more of his journey. It is humbling to think of the terrible times they go through.

    With this wonderful start, I can only look forward to the rest of the series!

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  7. Thank you for sharing a bit of your history, Hilda. How exciting for you and your family!

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  8. Thank you, Rolina. I was amazed to learn so much about my parents as they got older. And, like you, I learned so much more about them after they died. I wish I had asked more questions...

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  9. This very powerful in thought and image! I too had an emotional response when visiting her as a teen, it made a big impression and thinking about my own family history. Thanks Chris for these deep thoughts.

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  10. Well, first of all, I can't picture you ever being a brat! Thank you for a great post and such honesty. It is very humbling, this symbol, and what she represents. I only hope it stays this powerful forever. Oh, and GREAT artwork as usual!

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  12. Hi Chris! Very well rendered and your post is quite touching. I think the Statue of Liberty is probably the most popular symbol of freedom in the whole wide world. A is a beautiful letter!... :)

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  13. I love your alphabetica batik paintings so much!
    And your Statue de la liberté is the perfect one for A ! When we think America, we see this statue. Freedom is the most important gift a country can give to its people

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  14. I couldn't agree more, Martine. It's scary because I think people are starting to forget this.

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