For some of you, it’s been a long, long time since getting any word from me. For others, sponsors of my WORLD AS COLLAGE PROJECT, you have been receiving direct daily blog emails throughout March! This project was part of the March Arts Marathon 2022, a fundraiser aimed at gathering funds for the Central Vermont Refugee Action Network (CVRAN) to aid refugees arriving in Central Vermont. The fifty artists, writers and musicians together raised approximately $68,700 over the course of the month!
Now focus can be turned to things both related and different.
Firstly, the WORLD AS COLLAGE PROJECT now being completed, I am in the process of posting HERE on this website each of the twenty-one double-sided collages as well as the thirty-one blog letters received by the sponsors, for all to see. So far, seven works and corresponding blogs have been posted. Each time I add one or two additional sets of new blog letters and works to the PROJECT page, I will send out a post! You can enjoy these posts piecemeal, dipping in and out of the materials as time permits, or you can imagine receiving them directly, and read each letter in one fell swoop, re-tracing my work and thoughts as they developed.
The last touches on these works have begun: to varnish each piece with acrylic to toughen up and protect these thin double-sided – therefore free-hanging – paper collages, in anticipation of eventual exhibition somewhere in the world!
On another, more somber note, my focus over the month has turned from helping refugees already arrived in Vermont, to the dangerously escalating war in Ukraine and the fresh and unfortunate election results in Hungary. First, Ukraine: for those of you following the abhorrent ongoing events perpetrated by Putin and his armies, as well as those of you who haven’t been able to pay attention, I strongly recommend this video: an in-depth interview of President Zelenskyy by The Economist’s editor-in-chief, Zanny Minton Beddoes. It is both inspiring and fearsome. Please watch HERE.
Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such a paradigm/power shift in the world as is unfolding before our eyes in extraordinarily rapid real-time. The images and videos flooding the daily news are shockingly reminiscent of WWII although all war-time atrocities bear tragic resemblance, reflecting the same human depravity and the same ethical vacuum.
There is certainly a new power emerging in the world; a power of strongmen, of brazen embrace of totalitarianism and utter abandonment of any semblance of democracy. Whether it’s Trump and his depraved Republican Party, Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Bolsonaro of Brazil, Modi of India, Orbán of Hungary or the current daddy of all evil, Putin of Russia, these men are of one type, one club, one side. Will Marine LePen join the club as its first woman thug?
What does one do in the face of this I ask myself? Remember and learn from history, for starters. Don’t forget where appeasement has led. Try to glean courage from those who stood on the right side of past conflagrations. Be as brave as possible, whether in efforts big or small, while not losing hope. Give aid to Ukraine in whatever manner you choose. We’ve been sending donations directly to the National Bank of Ukraine, as does the Canadian Province of New Brunswick. In whatever way you can, act!
I’ve been accused of lecturing; OK, so call this a lecture, directed towards myself as well as anybody, everybody. Am I channeling my dear, powerful mother in this call to arms? She’d be doing the same and more, if she were here now.
Above all, realize the great risk we face – as witnesses we must not turn a blind eye to assuage our fears. In the end, it never works!
– Diane Sophrin
Montpelier, Vermont. 4.5.22