Less than a week ago, a horrific earthquake, epicentered in Port au Prince, hit Haiti. Donna Lively Clark, my musician partner in the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra's Notable Arts project, is still trying to get news of a good friend who arrived in the capital last week. It is a very emotional time and an emotional subject. (update: Donna's friend has been located, living on a baseball field, having escaped the school with no means of communication.)
"Danza #4: First Impressions" was finished a week before the tragic disaster. The music piece always projected an underlying sadness to me. Listening to the music as I worked, recalling details of Donna's experiences in Haiti, and viewing photographs of the school and its students and teachers, I was moved to capture the spirit of all of these things: Haitian people, facing difficulties constantly and now, overwhelmingly, and the role that music and art plays in these people's lives. The more I lived with Danza #4, the more I was moved to express through my painting that music and the story it tells of the Haitian experience.
Today, I read news accounts of people in Haiti gathering in the open to sing together, to provide comfort.
Danza #4 inspired me to paint a story and the story has grown bigger.