Cleaning House (with Raggedy Andy), 2002

Complexities of the past continually visit us. Our childhood runs through into the present. Things look very different at different ages and we layer our relationships with all the emotional garments of the past.

I never played with dolls when I was younger. My mother used to make them sing and dance and try to pique my interest through their animation. I found her animation very interesting, though I never understood why she thought I ought to be interested in dolls. As I have gotten older I have found them to have more anthropomorphic qualities and symbolism then ever in my youth. I still wonder if the popularity of dolls is the parent's creation. Who gets to become the animated one as the child is coaxed into a parental role towards the doll?

In this series, I give the doll its personality as made up through adult eyes in adult surroundings. As a child you 'play house', as an adult you 'clean house'. 'Cleaning house' is a metaphor for the process of mental cleaning. Raggedy Andy provides (through a doll's non-threatening anthropomorphic qualities) the psychological and emotional witness of one's personal process of this internal cleansing. Expressing the conflicting emotional states through varying painting styles and elements, I lead the viewer through the busy work or mindless tasks that one engages in on the surface, which give space for the psychological metamorphosis that has the true ability for emotional and spiritual cleansing. These pieces are about giving oneself the space to let go, knowing when to purge, and the processing which provides the balance necessary in redistributing past experiences.

Beledi – Gallery Iolani, Kaneʻohe, Hawaii, 2003

In Beledi (belly dancing), I explore a theme that resonates with the excitement, mystery, mood and uniqueness of the spirit of this dance. I primarily focus on motion and the continual transitional feel within the dance, --the memory of what went before, the anticipation of what is to come next through its resounding energy. I want the viewer to get caught up in it, to hear the music, to anticipate. My work is guided by my desire to represent and translate, not just extracted articulations of the dance but to represent the vibrancy of 'the dance' in each extraction. 

Tracing the culture surrounding this dance and its migratory roots (Orient, Middle East, Europe, Greek Isles, Africa), belly dancing has a strong history of mind-body-spirit relationship. Not a typical dance for voyeurs it was participatory and purposeful. The dance currently is widely considered a Middle Eastern folk dance, though unlike most other folk dances, is still commonly learned at home. Emerging from a celebration of earthly, sensual, and spiritual origins, the perception of belly dancing today has unfortunately been cast by repressive religious and cultural forces as a purely sexual dance and is often associated with prostitution. 

In Beledi I try to reflect the original intent of the dances such as those that were practiced in temple rituals, as harem entertainment--depicted in the now popular cabaret style, for enticement--accumulating dowries and income, those dances women performed by and for each other, and the dance as exercise for the preparation and ease of labor. Not just the grace and agility but the total engagement of the dancer was a gauge of her skill, ultimately inspiring exuberance and passion in others. May you be inspired!