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Posts Tagged ‘#1033 + 11 September 2001 + re-ACT + '11 SEPTEMBER 2001' Catherine L. Johnson 2001 + 11 September 2021; CATHERINE L JOHNSON’

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I had worked on Wall Street for six years – either walking or taking the subway to the WTC.  Watching, watching, watching that day and all the days later – a fleeting image  of my dear friend, artist Donna Dennis who lived on Duane Street in Tribeca  appeared on the TV.
 Donna was handing out bottles of water. Of course.

 

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11September2001_Rose_CantataforHealing_2001_CLJ_WP411 SEPTEMBER 2001    Catherine L. Johnson    2001

 

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Four original drawings.

Each drawing: 40″H x 24″W

 

11 September 2001

Four works on paper created during the week of 11 September 2001. Four original works representing the four cardinal directions, collages of roses : smoke-shattered images made whole.

The series was placed in several ecumenical locations in memorial.

The four pieces were created immediately in the week/wake of our nation’s tragedy of devastation and horror in the backyard of Harold/Esther Stassen’s Sunfish Lake, MN home.

The Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata, Minnesota, installed my art for an ecumenical memorial service on the first anniversary.

I called the ministers at WCC church in July 2002 asking if they thought of offering an ecumenical memorial service marking the first anniversary of 9/11 and I had created  four original works immediately as my way of coping and transforming the terror.

We agreed to a face to face appointment. I knew they had to experience the four works.

My proposal was for a high ceremony of remembrance- and the work would be installed in the colonnade at the 4 cardinal directions high above eye level and each would shrouded by drapes of black veil that would fall onto the floor. Haunting. I know trauma sears the nervous system and scars the bone and heart. I know healing occurs in communion with others – sacred listening and intimate acknowledgement which slowly draws out the embedded dark energy. A sacred process of grace love.

The following day, Rev. Bob Stout called me and stated WCC would host an ecumenical service on 11 September 2002 and my work would be a visual centerpiece and a ‘performer’ in the service of remembrance and healing.

I was requested to walk in the processional with the Police Dept., the Fire Dept., and the city and state officials – all the ministers were involved.

Rev. Bob Stout calls me on 11 September 2002 as the first memorial service was occurring at Ground Zero. He asked me if  was watching the broadcast. Yes, I replied. He says in a quiet halting voice: ‘the color of the roses given to the survivors are the SAME color as the roses In your work and the wind is pulling up the debris of bone/ash creating a spiral upward as in your work…’ Artists as conduit, a divining rod, an instrument. Art as oracle, a balm.

On the eve of 11 September 2002, the Wayzata Community Church’s sanctuary was shoulder-to-shoulder seated on the pews and standing.

At the end of the solemn hour long service, the four ministers led the congregation out into the spacious colonnade where my four original works were shrouded in black veil set high. Complete silence as the congregation filled the spacious colonnade. 

Once everyone entered and had stilled, Rev. Bob Stout nodded. This gesture signaled to the other three ministers to pull down the black veils and the images of roses seemed to rush and rise upward as the black veil fell to the ground. A year of mourning had been marked. 

I created 3000 ribbons that appeared as wing-breaths in the days and weeks following 9/11. Nine steps was the”mantra”- the steps to create each ribbon- like the prayers in the Kaddish to commend the spirit to Heaven. Nine is a number that has symbolic resonance as well.

I created ribbons every night at the Dakota Jazz Club with my dearest friend, Jane Matteson for: fire departments, hospital ERs, bereft families, Minnesota Orchestra musicians and conductor (my brother Bill and I met for concerts – Elgar’s Nimrod was offered and, at the intermission, I  brought a basket of my ribbons for the musicians and Osmo Vänskä…when the musicians and Vänskä  re-entered the stage, each wore a ribbon).

My first ‘actions’ were initiated at the South YMCA where I was a water fitness and weight training instructor. I set up a table for families at the South YMCA – and each person created one step of the nine steps and, once completed passed it to the person sitting next to them – until completion. The ‘actions’ were soothing and transformed fear into a productive gesture. Families, extended families, participated: a positive action to quiet overwhelming fear ans helplessness. Community actions binds the wounds – together as one, not alone.

 

The shape of the ribbons evolved

and

became to look more like wings

toward the denouement of my offering.

 

Please note:

https://catherineljohnson.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/11-september-2001-11-september-2011/

https://catherineljohnson.art/2021/02/09/11september2001-a-cantata-for-healing/

 

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