Work in Progress..."Wreckage" Acrylic on 24"x36" Gessobord
I spend a good deal of time thinking about beauty, as an artist. I spend a lot of time noticing beauty, oftentimes in very ordinary things, sometimes in extraordinary things. I often feel that it is the job of an artist to point to beauty, to remind others to notice. Perhaps that is why the contrast to the beauty and wonder of this planet and its greater solar system hits so hard. Le Mémorial de Caen or "Peace Museum" in Caen, France holds the big picture of what happened in Europe in WWI and WWII, the Holocaust and WWII in the Pacific. I had the privilege of spending several hours in this place. It wasn't pleasant, it wasn't fun. It was overwhelming. Sometimes you want to run away from these painful parts of being human, you want to say "Well, I didn't cause that...I didn't do that..." or "I'd rather not think about that." To see the artifacts, the words, the films, the photos, to hear the music of this place in time is overwhelming and heavy. But, I felt it was a way I could honor the people who actually lived it and suffered it, by looking at this carnage square in the face. It was difficult...but you get the big picture by walking through this world experience. It is probably the most important museum I have experienced. In one display, I watched a film that showed a pit full of human bodies piled high. The Nazis would march a row of 10 or so women and children on a narrow ridge of dirt slightly above this ditch. The level of the grass was at an adult's shoulder level, so that the women could see out. There they stood, waiting. Then the SS yelled an order and the German soldiers shot them all in the back, mothers, grandmothers and young children. They tumbled into the death pit. The film was taken from the viewpoint of the executioners. When I try to talk about this with people, I find it hard to speak. This painting is what I want to say.
Robyn Sand Anderson