Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Measure of My Strength

I've finally had a chance to spend time with a recently acquired book, The Measure of My Strength: Lizinga Lemandla Ami by Sunni Mercer. Sunni was my student when I taught calligraphy at Rivier College in the 1980s. Shortly after she moved to Oklahoma. Spirit Book #13: Hope Offering is made from pieces of a Washington hawthorn she sent me from there.

I haven't seen Sunni since her 1995 exhibit at OK Harris in New York but facebook has reconnected us. Her latest project, The Measure of My Strength, tells the story of women and children in Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world. Here is how it is described on the book's website:

The women of Swaziland have much to teach us. They face seemingly insurmountable difficulties daily as they care for the children left abandoned by victims of the AIDS epidemic, yet their words and images testify to perseverance, hope, and joy.

This book through contemplative sculpture, inspiring words and compelling photographs relates stories about the power of hope and the strength of endurance in the face of profound and devastating hardship.

And here is Sunni's message from the website:

I believe contemporary art developed as art in context can function as a powerful storyteller. As such, may what you see here challenge and encourage you to participate; become an agent of change, so that together we might save a generation.

Visit the The Measure of My Strength for information about the exhibition (it travels) and the book.

Learn more about Sunni Mercer's work.

Learn more about the photographers Bridget and Eric Pipkin.

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