Art Attack… WWMLKJD?
We celebrated Martin Luther King Day for the first time ever Sunday. While the banks drag behind, Eureka Springs moved progressively forward and honored one of the great humanitarians of all time – the man who sought through non-violence, equality for all – the man whose untimely assassination changed the nation.
Last weekend’s brainstorm was the work of Quinn Withey, aka, Bossascrewanova, who, with the help of many in our community, pulled off a day of song, dance and poetry in celebration of the good doctor.
It started in Basin Park where Ranaga Farbiarz unveiled his “musical peace shields” – ten hand-held, brightly painted hubcaps attached with chimes, each tuned to a different note of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”
Quinn approached me to participate in the celebration and thought the portraits I photographed of community members visualizing peace from my 2009 Community at Peace installation would be appropriate for the occasion.
How personally moving it was to see these intimate portraits grandly projected on the back of the Auditorium stage, acting as backdrop for the afternoon’s wonderful performances. The blown-up diversity of faces reminded me why I still call Eureka Springs home and how, despite the fractiousness of this little town, we are really more connected then divided.
We all have personal heroes – MLK was one of mine. He was a man of peace, but there was nothing passive about Dr. King. One only has to read some of his brilliant writings to know he was aggressively direct in his pursuit of equality and justice.
He also understood the power of words, their importance, and how they could be used to inspire as well as oppress. Mostly he was a truth seeker – both message and messenger – shot down because his message was a little too real for some.
Last week I was witness to some people caught in a lie, who when confronted, instead of owning up, decided to shoot the messenger. It was not pretty and got even uglier until letters of apology and remorse suddenly appeared.
I thought, What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. Do? Expose the lie, forgive and move on, but never forget?
Somewhere between my cynical self and my Pollyanna self lies the truth, a core belief that humans are just that, human – like myself – flawed, but basically good. With these images of peace in my head and King’s words fresh in my heart, it’s hard not to give peace a chance.