Many artists are taking part in this project. We all started with a blank 12" square piece of plywood. Here I am at Jackie's lovely studio the day I picked my square up. Each square is dedicated to an ancestor, somebody who came to this country from elsewhere. As I am the first one in my family to come to the US (the rest of my family lives in the Czech Republic), I was instructed to tell my own story. Once all (a few hundred) squares are completed, they will be publicly displayed in Washington DC towards the end of 2017.
So, I got to work. My board has two aspects. First, I browsed through 15 years of photos and picked moments that sometimes meant a lot and others that were just a quick passing experience. It feels like life is just like that: the big is mixed in with the little and vice versa. What an emotional experience! I saw so many faces, so many stories, in all of those photos. People who invited me into their lives; people who I literally have known since day one in the country. To honor their anonymity, I added a filter to all images as I assembled them into a collage. Some photos sit nicely next to each other; others clash. Some pop with color; others take your eye in as they are dark and you need to search for the silhouettes.
One of the photos is the first photo taken of me in the US, another one of a former supervisor who gave me advice I use in my life daily. My parents, friends, kids I took care of, people I am not in touch anymore ... They are all part of my experience of establishing a life in the US.