Patricia Sannit: Rise Fall Rise – The Humans, 2017
Time Stands Still: a solo exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Time Stands Still was a result of listening to the news, and trying to find the heart to get up in the morning and face it all again, and make sense of what it means to be human, when humans are the perpetrators of violence. It seems like the world has been in flames for half of my lifetime, but particularly the last 10 years. The falsely justified invasion of Iraq, the brutality of dictators, the destruction of the cultural heritage of Syria and Iraq through ISIS/ISIL, the millions of displaced people as a result of war, famine, corrupt governments, environmental chaos, and in the United States of America, the horrific, systemic, lethal violence directed toward unarmed Black men. I could go on, but that list is long enough to make anyone weep. Daily, the radio brought to my studio reports of injustice, genocide, brutality, destruction and inhumanity.
And still: we go on. Humans have been rising and falling, destroying and creating since we have been humans. There was one image I saw in the newspaper, which was teh photograph that set this work in motion. It was a photo of a street in Aleppo, the entire area bombed. The building were standing , but the fronts of the buildings had fallen away into rubble, exposing the living rooms and bedrooms to the world. In the midst of this grey, dusty, rubble filled scene, two blushes of color stood out: a dozen oranges spread across the ground and a toddler playing with them, and pale pink sheets that had been hung up in a bombed building to provide some privacy. It was the smallest bit of hope to see that in spite of what was thorough devastation, teh humans living there were trying to create a bit of normalcy. And looking at history, we know that Aleppo, founded in the twelfth century, has been under regular attack since then and has survived over 6 major attacks. This resiliency and the human impulse to survive, and thrive, in the face of destruction, is the core of my project, Time Stands Still.
Photos by Mary Knopp/Randall Photography