These are images from "Ally/Enemy", the exhibition that I just completed at Elon University. The installation had 104' of running wall space that wrapped around you as a 360 degree landscape when you walked into the gallery. Time was limited, so the days were long. I arrived on Tuesday afternoon (thank you to the Elon students who painted the walls black and grey before my arrival!) and had to complete it by Friday. This could NOT have been done without a spectacular team of Senior Art Majors who spent their time making food runs, supply runs, and helping out with parts of the installation itself in the midst of exam week. Thanks to all of you!
The installation combined images from the beating of Rodney King, the Egyptian revolution, and the Indian army's occupation of Nagaland, three global scenarios where I thought that I was on one side but then changed my opinion within one hour of hearing the other perspective.
About half way through the installation, the land started to feel very generic and I realized that this isn't the way that it works. People don't fight over dirt alone; they fight over its personal significance. For example, it is the place where they are raising their children, the place where they have started a business, and the place where their homes are built. To personalize the land, I added white, lichen-like splotches and filled them (with the help of many assistants!) with hundreds of tiny, pen-drawn bubbles. In addition, the feathers throughout the landscape are from the Hornbill, a bird that symbolizes Nagaland.
The soldier below, painted black on black was at least two times taller than the other characters (about 10'?). I painted it on the wall behind the door so that the visitors wouldn't know that they were under surveillance until the final moment when they turned to leave the room.
On two short, hidden walls (even further behind the recessed entrance) I posted segments from the longer artist statement. Here's an example:
The work has already been whitewashed in preparation for the next artist in line.
Thank you, again, to the Art Department at Elon University for providing the perfect space, the 24 hour access, and the student assistants who made this possible!