Covenant, an installation in three works, is an investigation into the social, cultural and economic conditions in Burma (aka Myanmar) today.
Name of the Father
A coded text (“The Gift,” by Louisa Igloria) is hidden within a series of 58 prayer beads in Name of the Father. Only partially visible to the casual viewer, the text describes a reign of brutal and illegitimate power while acknowledging the challenges those of us outside such a regime typically face in developing a consciousness of its insidious impact on life.
Harvest represents the family table; in its center, a pile of porcelain rice, the product of a 10 hour work day, and surrounding it, bowls enough to accommodate a family of four. The bowls’ raw porcelain bellies, while ample, are grooved with deep, sharp spiral cuts. Rampant throughout the country, chronic malnourishment effects one out of three children under age 5, many of whom are physically—and irrevocably—stunted, despite Burma’s being the 7th largest producer of rice in the world.
During the “Saffron Revolution” of 2007, Burmese monks demonstrated their refusal to accept the junta government and its supporters as legitimate by “turning over the alms bowls.” This dangerous formal protest is only undertaken in the direst of circumstances and—in a country where 90% of people are Buddhist—carries much influence over the population at large. Essentially an act of excommunication, turning over the alms bowls signifies the consensus that the government has no merit and is beyond redemption.