For more information, go to: http://savejejunow.org/
Well, its been a long time since I last updated this blog, mostly due to the fact that I don't have a portable computer or device to use while I'm away, but also just because life has been very, very busy with Walk preparation, and then the Walk itself. But now, the walk is over and I'm back home. It was another really wonderful Maine Peace Walk! I mentioned in my last post that I was beginning work on a design to represent this year's Walk theme ...Stop the War$ on Mother Earth, for the Walk sweatshirt. Above is the design that I ended up with.
And here is the sweatshirt...
Here, you see the 6 x 8 foot canvas for the Walk banner stretched out, ready for painting!
And here I am painting. That yellow shirt was very important to me, as I used it in honor of the people of Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea. I was very fortunate in being able to travel there last year with a delegation of Veterans for Peace, to be in solidarity with the people, who for nine years now have been non-violently resisting the construction and operation of a naval base that was built to US Navy specs, and which will port US Navy warships. The villagers were overwhelmingly opposed to the construction, with 94% voting against the base in a referendum. Despite the people's fierce but always peaceful resistance, the construction is finished now, and the base is operational... but only after laying waste to that once-beautiful pristine environment (home to a number of endangered species, including the estimated 114 remaining Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins) the village's sacred sites, and any notion of a genuine democratic process. Yet the resistance continues till this day.
For more information, go to: http://savejejunow.org/
Back to the yellow shirt...As you can see in this photo, yellow is the color of the flags and shirts worn by many on Jeju Island during their annual Grand March for Life and Peace. It is a 5 day walk, beginning in Gangjeong Village, where two teams set out, one heading east, the other heading west, to walk around the entire perimeter of Jeju Island.
Part of the dish-washing crew for the Grand March. Imagine all the organizing and energy it would take just to feed the hundreds of walkers on the March!
This shirt says it all...
And so does this smile. Its Sung-Hee here, one of the really wonderful activists I met in Gangjeong who continues to inspire me. And so, early on in the design stage, I decided that the central figure would wear a yellow shirt, in honor of the people struggling for peace on Jeju Island and beyond.
The finished banner for this year's Maine Peace Walk. The theme of this year's walk was more challenging to convey in a single image than last year's theme, which was "Militarization of the Seas: the Pentagon's Impacts on the Oceans". Having been involved for the past 16 years now in efforts to reign in the Navy's reckless use of sonar, which is wrecking havoc on marine life, that image came to me quite quickly.
Last Year's Banner...
This year's banner mounted on the Walk support van, along with Maka the dolphin. As I was saying, for me, "Stop the War$ on Mother Earth" was a much more difficult theme to convey in one image. There are so many different wars being waged on and against the planet...ranging from naval sonar sound-blasting our oceans, to over-fishing, deforestation, and human-caused extinctions to climate disruption and endless war. How to capture that in one quickly readable image? After a lot of sketching trying out many different ideas, I finally settled on a group of people coming together, linking hands, to protect a giant tree. In my mind, it is The Tree. The Tree of Life. I choose to portray it from a very low point of view in order to focus attention not only on the people, but also that sacred tree. With all that sky above, I was able to include in the image one of the many wars against the planet; one that goes unrecognized by most people. That is the spraying of, what some refer to as chemtrails, from certain airplanes. Unlike con-trails, which typically disappear within, at longest, several minutes, chemtrails sometimes last literally hours before finally dispersing, often smearing up otherwise clear skies. Some believe this to be an effort to geo-engineer the weather and climate. Others speculate that in addition, it may have military applications. What I do know for sure, is that these long-lasting trails which can frequently be seen crisscrossing the sky, did not occur regularly until maybe around 20-25 years ago. Now they are a very common sight. For more info on this, check out: http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFQ2_0QNiks
In this photo, taken on the 2nd day of the Walk, you can see chemtrails not only painted on the banner, but also real ones in the sky above the banner and Maka.
Here again, more chemtrails. One partly diffused over Maka, and another, if you look carefully, being sprayed from the airplane passing just above Maka's back. This photo was taken on the 4th day of the Walk.
Maine Peace Walkers gathering on Day 1 at Penobscot Nation, on Indian Island. The Penobscot Nation hosted a potluck dinner, and we were honored to listen to Chief Kirk Francis and attorney and native rights activist Sherri Mitchell speak on the Penobscot's struggle for Justice for the River.
Day 2. As in past years, the walk was led by Japanese Buddhists from the Nipponzan Myohoji order, who lead peace walks all over the world. Ahead of them, carrying the lead banner is 10 year old Bailey from Bainbridge Island, who enthusiastically walked the entire walk.
Some of the walkers, as we approach Portland on day 12 of the Walk.
Not sure which day of the Walk this was, but it looks like a nice one. In any case, the Walk came to an end on Day 15 when we reached the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, where we held a vigil at the gate during a worker shift change. That, and the celebratory dinner afterwards at a pizza place that had very generously donated many pizzas to the walk on the previous day, brought an end to this years walk. Of course there was also plenty of post-Walk work that needed to be done; and to a large degree, it is now. Maka is now taking a rest in my studio, which has been cleaned up following the messy storm of painting the banner. I'm almost ready to get back to carving, but first have to do a little welding project. More on that latter....