2017 Thought Provoking Altars

2017 Day of the Dead Exhibit at Sun Gallery, Hayward, CA

Maureen Langenbach Altar to her mother

I had the extreme good fortune of finding the Sun Gallery in Hayward.  It was one of those love at first encounter affairs.  A friend had me join her as she had an artist quilt maker friend taking part in a wonderful exhibit in 2016.  I loved the work, loved Niambi’s quilts and enjoyed the warm atmosphere of the entire staff, artists and event goers.  So in 2017 I was inspired to enter the Blue Planet, Stand up for Science exhibit scheduled for April 2017. It inspired me to create a series called “Ice Thins”.  I loved the whole experience.

When I learned of the “Dia de Los Muertos” or Day of the Dead  Exhibit I noted it on my calendar to attend the Reception on November 4.  The exhibit featured several artists who created thought provoking altars that were unexpected.  Those altars touched on raw nerves in current day United States life.  A reverence for both the living and deceased was expressed.

Maureen  Langenbach  had a sincere, many layered altar to her mother, Connie Dillon who had passed away this year.  We came to know her mother, as an artist, collector of blue and white china, someone who was an essential element in the Napa Community.  It was done with love and enhanced with colorful paper flowers that were about 3 feet in diameter.

2017 Sun Gallery, Hayward CA

Peter Langenbach & Sun Gallery staff  Altar to Dreamers

 

The Altar to the Dreamers was done by Peter Langenbach in collaboration with the Sun Gallery.  It was quite poignant.  We as artists and as sensitive beings feel for these people who came to dwell in the United States as children.  They had no knowledge that they were illegal aliens.  Under President Obama, they were given special status to be on their way to citizenship.  Many lives were changed starting January 21, 2017 when our new President was sworn in.

I do know something about being an immigrant as I lived in France for a number of years.  I had the “carte de residence” which was equivalent of a green card in the US.  Even though I was there legally, I had some degree of difficulty in working thru the complex system.  But one of many differences was I came as an adult.  I had the necessary documentation. I also had the assistance of my husband who was a natural-born citizen of France. 

Dreamers came as children.  They may have felt at the time that it was a great adventure.  Then under President Obama’s administration, they began to relax and feel they did really belong here.  They believed that they were on their way to becoming US citizens.

The altar to dreamers was simple in execution with the letters spelled out using red, white and green letters with the paper flowers and skulls of a Day of the Dead altar. It was as though their status was partly deceased and partly alive but definitely vibrant.  Exhibit viewers could write messages to the Dreamers.  I was moved as were others who studied the messages, wrote their own message and thought about what a huge potential these dreamers had if . . . . . .they were allowed to stay.

Other relevant altars included an altar to the hurricane Maria’s victims in Puerto Rico done by Peter Langenbach.  The implied message was these inhabitants are also Americans.  It is our country’s responsibility to care for them in their hour of need.

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Andrew Kong Knight Altar to Victims of Las Vegas Attack

The fourth altar that came to my attention was the altar in tribute to those slain in Las Vegas in October of this year done by Andrew Kong Knight. Attention to detail had photo images of the 51 people who were slain as well as 51 bullet holes in the flag and 51 candles lit to warm our memories of them.

I highly recommend visiting the Sun Gallery.  It has its finger on the pulse of our nation.  The artists in this exhibit did not blare the obvious, did not overstate the problem.  They did with great acuity, point out what these problems are.

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COMMUNITY TREASURES

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Community Treasures Art Show at The Altenheim Saturday June 3 & Sunday June 4 in Prior Hall from 11am to 5pm We will open the doors to everyone on Saturday June 3 and Sunday June 4 for our Community Treasures … Continue reading

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ICE THINS

ICE THINS

2017 Artist statement

As the planet warms from
Fossil fuels use,
Ice in both the Arctic
And the Antarctic
Begins to melt.
In so doing
Walls of beauty
Float on their way
to the ocean.
Ice thins.
Tunnels the height of
The Eiffel Tower
Emerge beneath the ice.
Ice thins.
The Larsen Ice Shelf on
Antarctica widens, it splits
To over 100 miles.
Ice thins.
Warns humans and animals
Of an uncertain future.
The question is,
Will the warning
Be heeded?

 

 

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It was an Arranged Marriage

Happened Upon a Delhi Wedding 2015

2015 Delhi Scene of an Indian Marriage

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Dreams are both Goals & Resolutions

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Spirits of Recoleta ©2006 by Janet Brugos  (private collection)

Dreams

Day dreams are goals.

Night dreams are conflict resolutions.

I have used both

To enjoy some magnificent adventures.

starting with

My trip to Europe

with my Girl Scout Troop at age sixteen.

I worked to earn the money for it.

Which was a life lesson gift.

My love of travel was a day dream.

So I made it come to pass

by my work in the Travel Industry.

My dream to take a trip around the world

was a day dream that came to pass in 1999.

My dream to become an artist was both day and night dreams.

They came to pass while living in France.

The conflict resolution was to get a separate life.

I got one as an artist

And have continued from that time on.

I thank my French husband for inadvertently

pushing me away and into the visual arts.

That was a true gift.

I first exhibited my work at the

Grand Palais in Paris in the 1990s.

My last fulfilled dream

Was completed in March 2015

By taking a trip to India.

Let there be more and more trips to that

land of enchantment.

My current dream?

To inspire others

To feel enthusiasm for life.

Janet Brugos, July 2016,  Oakland, California

 

 

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Sands of Time

Sands of Time ©1994

Sands of Time ©1994 by Janet Brugos private collection

 

What time is it?

Nap time.

Wrap time.

How much time do you have?

Not much time.

Too much time

No time at all.

Does my time count?

How can you count time?

By the good times?

The bad times?

The best times?

The worst times?

What time is it?

What time did you say?

Is that Pacific time?

Or Eastern Time?

Or Euro Time?

or FaceTime?

The Right time?

The Wrong time?

Get the time right!

How do you race time?

On your mark,

Get set.

Go!

Time’s up.

Time’s over.

Time’s out.

The  End  of  T I M E.

 

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Ball Three

Ball Three                                     B a l l  T h r e e

                       Three dog night.

                          Three little words.

                       Three hens a laying.

                        Third time’s a charm.

                         And baby makes three.

                      Three’s a crowd.

                       The third degree.

                        Three blind mice.

                           I bet you can’t eat three.

                              Three strikes and you’re OUT.

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Ball Two

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Ball Two.  Stairway Ball.

Anchor ball.

Belted ball.

Cinch ball.

Dunked ball.

Elevated ball.

Foul ball.

Ground ball.

High Ball.

Eye ball.

Jumping ball.

Kept ball.

Loosing ball.

Mushroom ball.

No ball.

Out ball.

Passing ball.

Que ball.

Ruffled ball.

Snow ball.

Tennis ball.

Upper ball.

Vicious ball.

Winning ball.

X ball.

Yucky ball.

Zee ball.

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Ball One

Sun is a ball. Mixed Media Art.

Sun is a ball. Detail from “Shoe Trees on a Hillside” ©2015

Was it you who threw out the first ball?

I caught the ball and ran with it.

Was it a tennis ball, a hand ball, a low ball or

A high ball? At the black and white ball?

Well, it certainly wasn’t a foul ball.

Great balls of fire, it was a bowling ball.

How is that for heavy handed ball?

Well it was certainly  NOT a foot ball.

Oh, the many balls I have known:

A golf ball, a cricket ball, a soccer ball.

Does that ball hurt?

She has balls!  Now what kinds of balls are those?

Are they hanging balls, sliding balls, fast balls?

Now that is a ball of a different color.

Or was that a horse?  What is a horse doing at a ballpark?

Take a swing at that ball!

I was inspired to do this post after reading my daughter Alejna’s post recently. 

I recommend it. https://collectingtokens.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/keeping-the-ball-rolling/

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Day 12: Black Prague

Charles Bridge, Prague

Charles Bridge, Prague

Black Prague

Black, black, black. How can I see when it is all black? Where am I? My eyes are open but I cannot see. My fingers reach beside me. It is gritty, ropy, some kind of texture. The smell of must pervades the air. I was sleeping but there is no bed. I stretch my arm as far as I can reach. Smooth. Small indentations like a groove. Roll over. Breath in. Very musty. No ventilation. Slide along reaching with fingers. I can’t move far. I can’t sit. My head’s wet. Tastes like salt. Salt. Salt Lake. Ocean. Water.

My head throbs. Head’s wet. Arm’s dry.  Try to remember. Dancing. Dancing. Cannot return to the table. Ted is looking very agitated. 

Yes. We met the Czech cousins in Prague. They were able to get away during the week from their teaching jobs. We met their superior, the minister of Education for Slovakia. Joined them for dinner. Lots of slivovitz. Destination: After hours place.

Nightclub appeared closed. But after a wrap, wrap, wrap, it opened. We emerged into a large ballroom with a 12-piece orchestra, large dance floor and many clothed tables. Strange that no one other than our group was here. Ted can speak with his cousin, Elizabetha but not with her husband. Ted’s parents came to the US from Austria Hungary so his first language was a Slovakian dialect.

Twelve in our party; mostly men in dark suits. Only two other women besides Elizabetha and me. One very handsome, tall man asked me to dance, not in words but by gesture. It was a polka, whirling, whirling, whirling, legs up in the air polka. After 3 dances, I wanted to return to the table. My partner did not understand. I tried to release myself from his grasp but he held me in place. We started dancing again. Ted was looking extremely agitated. Shaking his finger saying, “No. No. No.”

My legs were aching. Trying to pull away. Handsome man transforming into sinister enemy. Unable to return to the safety of my husband’s presence. 4:45AM. Dizzying dancing. Endless dancing. Deliberate dancing.

At last we return to the table. Ted was sweating. A large trail of sweat was just about to reach the collar of his shirt. Reaching over to wipe it away, I was restrained. My quizzical expression went unanswered by Ted.

I was permitted to leave the table to use the restroom. A woman, also dressed in black, placed her hand in the small of my back pressing me in the direction intended. Down a long hallway I was propelled. Shoved.

Blackness. Nothingness. Silence. How long have I been here? A stripe of light. So cold. Crawling towards the stripe. Slight waft of air fingers my face. Where is Ted?

Sounds approaching. Approaching louder. Door thrust open. Brightness invades.

Elizabetha stoops down to help me up. “You must have fallen.” I nod. “Where is Ted?” Elizabetha replied,  “He is in the taxi waiting for you.”

The large doors to the club were unlocked to let us out. The red orange rays of early dawn were just crossing the sidewalk. It was 6:15 in the morning.

Ted’s concerned look and index finger pressed against his mouth answered none of my (unspoken) questions. Silent cab ride to where? Prison? Torture? Execution? Escape? Where were we being taken? Taken somewhere to disappear? The cousins were no longer with us but we were not alone in the cab. We were being “protected” by an unknown dark suited man.

My heart’s beating faster. My throat’s dry. Eyes pressed closed. Ted’s hand on my arm. The cab slowed down. Then stopped. The doors released. My eyes opened. My head turned. Destination was our H O T E L . Not taken. Safe.  A L I V E.

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