May/June 2017

a paper installation
by Besty Dollar

Back in the day I fought very hard for the equal rights amendment, twenty years ago I seriously considered running for local office; but over the last decade I have done my best to avoid politics in all forms. It is a departure for me to make work that is overtly political. Subtle political references appear in my work, but it is rarely the focus as with Standing United.

The current administration has driven me to despair and back into action. I sign petitions daily, I listen to NPR regularly (at least until I have an anxiety attack), I make more donations, and I have been attending rallies and marches. This piece very simply reflects what I have observed at the rallies: like-minded people coming together out of deep concern, not just for their own well-being, but the well-being of everyone no matter their color, gender, ethnicity, orientation or religious affiliation. People are coming together to peacefully protect the future of democracy.

Standing United depicts a line of generic figures alternating between male and female in a gradient of skin tones from “black” to “white”. From their feet run red ribbons that cross and weave a web. The symbol there is the sameness of our blood no matter our skin color. The ribbons also evoke the stripes of the American flag. The ribbons run together into peace sign lamps. I chose to make the peace signs lamps because I want the beacon of peace projected to the community as a buffer to the feeling that we are teetering on the brink of violence at every turn of events. This is a hopeful presentation. I hold the hope of peaceful and creative resolution, hence the figures in union and a light of peace.

The paper is all made by the artist. It is abaca fiber that has been beaten in a Hollander beater for approximately six hours. The sheets are formed by spraying the pulp onto a form in layers. The lamp bases were made from book board and covered with the handmade paper.

The lamps are for sale, $50 each.

Learn more about Betsy Dollar