Friday, February 13, 2015


I sit inside the 5' X 8' cell, glad the door no longer closes, listening to a poem read by Lolo, a Tibetan singer imprisoned by the Chinese. I also hear the voices of Martin Luther King, Pussy Riot, and the drumbeats of Hopi dancers coming from other cells on the corridor. With friends, I am visiting Alcatraz, the legendary island where hardened prisoners lived, Native Americans encamped, and where birds fly to nest.

Until April 26, the island is host to an exhibit by AiWeiWei, a political activist from China who is not allowed to leave China. The artwork is interesting, but the ideas of freedom, entrapment, imprisonment and beauty give the exhibit its power. The three-dimensional space of the decaying buildings creates the tension between these ideas and WeiWei's artwork.

The people like me who walk around the LEGO faces of political prisoners from all over the world are quiet. Whatever you might call each individual, whether terrorist, revolutionary, dissident, activist, or librarian, whatever you might believe about the circumstances of their confinement, Alcatraz makes you feel the danger of one human being having power over another. The exhibit within the decaying buildings leads you to see that imprisonment can't last. The crumbling buildings, the broken window glass, the corroded iron railings and frames of doors and windows, and the layer upon layer of peeling paint attest to the triumph of release from confinement. 

WeiWei presents an exhibit that gets to the heart of human conscience. If you can, go.

Check out this link:

On an entirely different note, please check out this link: 

My Letterform Lover's Nightmare alphabet is being featured on this webpage.

You can also order the book, Zen Doodles:  Oodles of Doodles from this site.

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