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I finished the biggest burning yet, and it is gorgeous. The piece measures 60"x40", and I burned the image onto the paper. My idea came from a story, which seems to be historical, that I found concerning Safiya. I took the idea of shame, which she reportedly did to the warriors at the battle of Uhud. It was my intention that we, Americans (willingly or not), have been a part of destroying a nation and its peoples and should, therefore, feel shame. I've been arrested in D.C. twice in opposition to this war because, as a war veteran, I think I have an obligation to do speak out. So I realize that there are those who do oppose the war and are active in that opposition, yet here we, America, is still destroying Iraq, its peoples, and the stability of the world.

The war plane is a first-hand memory of war. The toy truck is there because my war-time experiences are becoming convoluted with the rememberances of my childhood free-play. The duck is me. It may seem as if I am crushed by Safiya, and what we are doing to the Iraqi citizens does weigh heavily upon me. But she is protecting me from the truck and the plane. It is through her that I will gather strength to oppose the destruction of others and my memories of war.

It is amazing to me that the method of TD can permeate the rest of my creating. And I think back to the free-play I had as a child and adult, and it is similar to the free-play I have in TD. But it wasn't until TD that I realized that I could go away in my art just as I can go away in my meditations. Just wonderful.

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Comment by Deborah Koff-Chapin on October 11, 2007 at 9:27am
Mark, this is very powerful. Can you add a bit to explain a little more about who Safiyais; her myth or story? It really helped me to undertsand this powerful piece.





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