What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to Ebola?
Artist Maura Cunningham: Sometimes our shared breath/spirit is all we have. If there is one thing all beings have in common it is that we breathe in when we are born, we breathe out when we leave this form. Beyond that everything is a mystery—where we go, why we leave the way we do, and how this can only be experienced alone. The Ebola virus highlights this in an extreme form given its highly transmissible nature and just had me thinking about what is shared without touch…. The breath and spirit being interchangeable…. In that our breath is our spirit as it is manifest in the body.
Why did this piece of art resonate for you or seem like it would give you an avenue into writing about Ebola?
Poet Maureen E. Doallas: Maura’s abstract artwork is both challenging and open to interpretation. Beneath its full-of-movement surface, which is like a window that has been muddied or stained with blood now turned brown, is a field of blue that clarifies, sets us in a place more serene, where that final breath takes us.
What I hoped to convey poetically is what I think Maura’s artwork also implies: the importance of the laying on of hands in caring for the ill and ministering to the dying.
What do you think is the role of art in regards to real-world, real-time events? In other words, what makes a “successful” occasional or political piece of writing or art?
Poet Maureen E. Doallas: We look to art to witness, to broaden our ways of seeing and feeling and understanding. The most successful occasional or political piece of writing does not tell us what we must see, how we should think; rather, it invites us to engage and, through connection, to move out of our places of comfort and enter into experiences that are not our own.
Artist Maura Cunningham: Art (in all its forms) at its best for me is an invitation to pause long enough to really look at something in a new way. Through the nonverbal response and exchange of ideas that occur between the viewer and the viewed creation, there is the potential in a moment, to see ourselves and/or a particular circumstance, event, even the world, in a new way. If our perception is altered, opened, or awakened, that to me is a successful piece of art/writing.