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“Your art speaks of healing…” Makoto Fujimura
It was an honor to host Makoto Fujimura in my garden for tea. As we talked around the wrought iron table, a yellow leaf fell. Mako picked up the leaf and artfully arranged it on the table near his tea cup. It was a beautiful image—watching Mako embrace beauty.
I’m very grateful for Mako’s willingness to help me make the next leap in my creative journey. Meanwhile, I’m focusing on a little soul care.
Many ArtPrize 2014 visitors commented on how meaningful the audio collage was in The Scarlet Cord installation. It features real voices of law enforcement and human trafficking survivors.
Crossing religious and social economic borders. Confronting child sex enslavement. Calling for compassionate action.
Gracious and dedicated Women at Risk volunteers showed up every day at The Scarlet Cord installation to tie red string bracelets on ArtPrize visitors. By last Friday evening, with another two days of ArtPrize 2014 yet to go, all 30,000 available bracelets had been given out! People kept asking for them because they wanted to continue building Circles of Protection around at risk children.
ArtPrize 2014 has been a history making event at every level: for the winning artists, for the public, for survivors of human trafficking and those who help them, and for this artist personally. Response to The Scarlet Cord has proven that raising awareness of human trafficking is an important step in ending it and providing hope and healing for those who have survived it.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this all happen. I’ll be lying low for a while now but this blog will still be updated.
A young woman returned to The Scarlet Cord looking for me. She gave me a hug and thanked me for the work. As I listen to people’s stories during ArtPrize, I try not to be shocked. But this story rocked me.
With tear-filled eyes, the young woman said, “As a small child, I was sex trafficked every day from my daycare center, along with several other children. Customers came to the daycare center or we were taken to other locations. The abuse continued for several years.”
As I hugged the young woman, I noticed that her mother was crying too.
A young woman sat on the curb—crying—after viewing The Scarlet Cord. A young man sat next to her with his arm tight around her. Five minutes later, they were still sitting on the curb, and she was still crying. So I decided to approach them.
Kneeling down, I asked the young woman, “Are you okay?”
She said, “I have a heart to help young children who have been abused. It is really terrible what some children experience.” She continued to cry.
The young man nudged her and said, “Tell her.”
A firm “No” came back. More tears followed.
“Our stories may be different, but hurt is universal,” I said, pretending not to notice the telling conversation that just occurred. “My artwork is about redemption. A fresh start. I couldn’t paint like this if I hadn’t experience deep wounds myself. The artwork is about healing. You have a beautiful and tender heart. It would be really wonderful if you could reach out to hurting children and help them regain hope.”
We talked a bit more about my art. Then I said something about how this may be my last year doing large exhibitions. The young man said, “You could still do something smaller. That would still help others.”
“I’m not sure about that,” I said.
This wasn’t the time or place to discuss my art challenges. Maybe he was right. Maybe not. For the last several months, I had been thinking about quitting my art journey. It had been quite a ride. I had lots to be thankful for. But the challenges had been overwhelming. I felt tired. Depleted.
He quickly interrupted my thoughts. “But something keeps bringing you back. Like you said, ‘Hurt in your life reaches out to others in a healing way.’”
His insight surprised me. The young man had just counseled the artist. I smiled and gave them both a hug. Our conversation pictured the ebb and flow of life. I intended to reach out to this young couple but, in a strange way, they ended up encouraging me. Their youth and innocence warmed my heart. Perhaps all three of us experienced renewal. The conversation had brought healing. As we parted, the young lady and the artist felt a new sense of hope, and calling.
The Scarlet Cord installation is in partnership with Women at Risk International—Rescuing and Caring for Survivors.
Help lift wounded children to places of dignity and hope by volunteering.
Empower rescued women to earn an income with dignity free of enslavement.
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