The Coconino Center for the Arts has a remarkable, "Fires of Change" show on exhibit this month. I have seen it twice and I know I will go again.
There is one piece in this show that brings me to my knees. Artist Katharina Roth of Sedona, Arizona chose the Yarnell Fire and the tragic deaths of 19 of the Granite Mountain Hotshots to memorialize. The installation is entitled "Nineteen", 19 beautiful crafted porcelain helmets were fired in a wood kiln. The result is beautiful and profound. Traces of black and red are the marks left by the fire. The intense heat has wrapped and in some places has cracked the fragile media. It is breathtakingly beautiful and terrifying in the same moment, just like wildfire.
She has also given us hope. There is a small tree growing out of an upturned helmet place on a tree stump. For this I am grateful.
After I left the Center I thought about this piece, it haunted me. As artist we are in the world and experience that. Some of these experiences and public events take hold of are thoughts. Scratching away at us, embedding themselves in us until they are part of us. Like seeds, they start to germinate, to sprout, and then to leaf out. They will not be ignored.
When they become mature, or just to painful to carry alone we start to create. We take are private moments with these subjects and turn them into art, and then we expose our wounds to the world for healing.
Not everyone will ever be moved by a single piece of art. However, those who are touched by are work, become our tribe. A group of individual points of consciousness that are connected by fine strands of understanding, filaments of the heart. We may never meet them and we may not have anything else in common with them except for this one moment. It is though, sublime. It is enough.
This exhibit is "Fires of Change" is up at The Coconino Center for the Arts , 2300 North Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ and on exhibit until October 31st, 2015