Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Camouflage

There are an estimated 300,000 child soliders in the world. Many have been caught up in comflicts in Africa - Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia for example. Some end up in the West as refugees - Staten Island,with its community of around 8,000 Liberian refugees probably has the highest conentration of child soliders in the West.

For those children, the line between being a perpetrator and a victim is a fine one.Some were captured after their parents were killed. Others joined opposing forces to gain food and care. Either way they often remain silent about the traumas of their childhood, their nightmares and terror camouflaged behind hip hop culture and street savvy.


The quilt is made from a piece of my hand dyed fabric with chartreuse silk strip and a 'blood river' strip of red. Get up close and you see,hidden between the trees, the AK47, the lightness of which weapon makes it easier for children to be armed and forced to take front line postions in war.

On a lighter note, I like to think that this quilt is one of mine (badly) camouflaging itself as one of Brendas!

9 comments:

stART said...

Evocative in many ways - and beautiful, too!

Gerrie said...

Wow, Helen, I am so blown away by your ability to bring a social justice problem to bear no matter what we throw at you. The thought of children bearing arms is heartbreaking. Beyond that, this is a very nice composition. The slice of red is compelling. Great job on the starts and tops in the quilting to create the gun image.

Diane said...

I am really struck by something new in your pieces lately, Helen -- an experimenting with the "less is more" concept, maybe? This says so much with very simple elements-- that red is exactly bloody against the beautiful foliage green. And of course, the hidden weapon makes it all the more scary and threatening. This may be my favorite of all of your pieces.

Kristin L said...

Ah, now I see how the gun relates to the green. I agree with Diane that this less is more jag you've been on is really working for you. I see so much more attention to color, texture, and proportion. The red is the bit on this that works best for me.

Karen said...

I like the subtlety of this, you need to get close to see the gun. What a powerful image Helen. I've read about these child soldiers before, what terrible lives they lead. Thank you for drawing attention to this again.

Terri Stegmiller said...

Children and guns do not belong in the same sentence. I love the overall look of this and the beauty is doing a very good job of camouflaging the facts.

kirsty said...

Bravo! That is one subtle quilt with a very powerful message. My family live in a town where some of these child soldiers have come to live as immigrants. The ongoing psychological and social issues are immense.
And, yes, it could well be a cousin to Brenda's quilts :)

Deborah Boschert said...

That background fabric is beautiful. It's the perfect foundation for the other elements in the quilt. I also love the red as a design element and as a symbol. The mix of hand and machine stitching is really great too. The silk strips are such a perfect chartreuse and the luminosity is beautiful.

The fact that the gun is so subtle, makes it even more powerful.

Terry said...

Another very thought-provoking issue to consider and a lovely piece of work. To highlight an ugly reality with beautiful color and subtle, elegant composition gives it a real punch in the gut that something harsh and crude would not deliver.