I was chosen as 1 of 25 artists chosen for Phase 2 of the INTER|URBAN project in Cleveland.
Each artist was asked to create a piece based on one of five Anisfield-Wolf Award winning books. My book was “Far From the Tree” by Andrew Solomon.
“Far From The Tree” explores themes of difference, acceptance, and identity. Parents who have children whose children fall outside what is considered normal, and have what the author, Andrew Soloman, calls “horizontal identities”. Despite the challenges, there is still so much love, and often the experience results in them becoming more accepting, empathic, and adaptable people. Solomon states “Rumi said that the light enters you at the bandaged place. Most of the families I met ended up grateful for experiences they would have done anything to avoid.” Struggle can be a point of connection both for parents, and those with horizontal identities. It is important to both find others with who share that identity to form a sense of community, and to have understanding and acceptance from those who do not.
In this piece, families begin a journey in an environment that appears impossible to navigate; however, over time they are able to maneuver through it by changing their perspective, and redirecting their expectations. Although some doors are closed to them, other have opened, and they are able to find alternative routes. This journey is greatly aided by the acceptance and support of other people, despite the differences in identities that they may have. At the top of the environment, differing identities converge, and form a ring around a fountain. Water, which earlier in the journey serves an obstacle, is harnessed, and transformed into a point of unity.
Thanks to LAND Studio, The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and The Cleveland Foundation for this amazing opportunity!
To learn more about this project, and see more cool public artwork, check out interurban-cle.com