After weeks of head scratching and tinkering, I finally have my computer back home. The empty space on my desk looks like it should once more. Yes, my ability to create art was hindered and my pocketbook is considerably lighter, but those are minor inconveniences compared to what others are going through across the world. I can only be grateful for what I have and for the safety and health of my family.
For the past few weeks, I've been following the disaster in Japan with great sadness. Like most of you, I've watched the waters smashing houses and large boats and cars like toys. I've seen photos of people surveying the damage, their town and their lives unrecognizable. One particular photo that burned in my mind was that of a woman calling out the names of her loved ones, desperate to hear a familiar voice. I imagined myself in her place, calling out the names of my daughters. I could feel her panic, and I couldn't stop the tears from falling.
But along with the destruction, I have seen videos of children singing at school graduations held in shelters. I've seen them laughing and playing and blowing bubbles. The children offer hope. The Japanese, I believe, are a resilient people. I am not Japanese, but after living there for two years, I feel akin to these people and their culture. This tragedy feels personal to me, and I feel a need to help as much as I can.
To that end, Ces has most generously and graciously teamed up with me to raise funds for Japan. For everyone who makes a $25 donation to the American Red Cross for the Japanese disaster relief fund, we will send the following.
An 8" x 10" print signed by yours truly. This is an image of two young Japanese children painting in one eye of a Daruma Doll. In Japan, the Daruma is a symbol of good luck and perseverance and is inspired by Bodhidharma, the Buddhist monk often credited for his Zen teachings. The doll is weighted on the bottom so that it always rights itself rather than toppling over. Because of this, it is often associated with the saying Nana korobi Ya oki, which means, 'Seven times fall down, eight times get up.' Upon acquiring a Daruma Doll, a person will set a goal and paint in one eye. When the goal is achieved, he or she will paint in the other eye. In this image, the young children are setting their goal, and that is to get up once more.
As a thank you, you will also receive an original ACEO (2.5" x 3.5") of a Japanese Blue Oak Acorn (Quercus glauca), exquisitely rendered in pen and ink and signed by Ces. It comes in a handcrafted envelope made of beautiful Japanese decorative paper, along with information about this majestic tree.
But that's not all, folks. Everyone who makes a donation will also be entered into a raffle to receive a larger original 9" x 12" pen and ink drawing of the Japanese Blue Oak on Bristol Board, illustrated and signed by Ces. Isn't it gorgeous?
If you would like to receive the above, please email your receipt for a $25 donation to the American Red Cross (earmarked for the Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund) to firstname.lastname@example.org. The print and ACEO will be shipped to you, free of charge. In addition Ces and I will match each donation received (up to $200 each).
And finally, a fun way to help efforts in Japan is to make origami cranes. For each crane received, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2 to the Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction efforts in Japan (up to $200,000). The cranes will be woven into an art installation as a gift to the Japanese youth. I've been happily making cranes, and these little guys will be making their way to the Students Rebuild organization soon. To find out more about this effort, please visit Students Rebuild.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through this long post. I'm sorry for making my comeback post a plea for donations, but this was important to me. If you have already made a donation, thank you so very, very much. どうもありがとうございます。