Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Last year in Turkey I had a hard Halloween.
This year was an improvement, but still difficult. Spent the morning volunteering in Kid.01’s fourth grade class. The teacher was very smart, and harnessed the kids’ almost uncontrolled enthusiasm to gather and graph data. The question: What is your favorite candy? The winners were Twix, followed by KitKats and Skittles. A few favorites made me laugh: Godiva chocolate, Ferrero Rocher, and Raisonets.
I taught all afternoon and evening, so didn’t get to go out with the kids Trick-or-Treating. But my students brought in food (and all important chocolate) and we had a little party.
The hard part was expecting the dreaded phone call, cause she’s almost gone.
Chocolate surfer sculpture, above.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Have you heard the new Annie Lennox single? “Dark Road”–it’s gorgeous. I just love a pop song that surprises me with development. Another beautiful one is “Show Me” by John Legend.
The inevitable thing I’ve been fearing for months seems to be coming. It will be hard.
Artwork by May-ling Martinez.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Some students have so many excuses for themselves. They are usually young, and haven’t made school a priority, so don’t put in the time. And that’s not really my problem. If you want to get by in my class doing the minimum, and are OK with a C or D, then more power to you. I hope you do well in other areas, whether different courses, working, being a fantastic boyfriend, or the becoming world’s greatest video game player. Just don’t make excuses. I don’t want to hear you didn’t have time to do well on my projects. I don’t want to hear about your potential. I’m sorry you don’t have money to buy the supplies for my class. I really don’t want to hear that you’ve done this stuff before and already know it, so shouldn’t have to do my assignment. Sheesh.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
On “The World,” a public radio program, I heard an interview with Dutch playwright Adelheid Roosen, who writes on the Muslim immigrant experience. From interviews with men and women, she’s created “The Veiled Monologues” and “Is.Man” about honor killings from a male viewpoint (which one man described so simply: “women carry it (honor), and men protect it”).
When asked whether a white protestant should be addressing immigrant issues, Roosen replied that she’s acting as a bridge, and does copious research. I also think that perhaps immigrants themselves wouldn’t explore such delicate issues as honor killings, at least not in an Art context. (Turkish artists inside Turkey do take risks and address these issues.)
Image above was taken in a Turkish bridal bazaar in My Anatolian City.
PS Am shocked to hear there was a battle today in central Turkey between the PKK and the Turkish military. I hope I misunderstood.
Friday, October 26, 2007
It was the most beautiful afternoon at the beach: groups of dolphins jumping in the calm sea right beyond the waves, fat pelicans dive-bombing and skimming, the occasional father with five kids in tow, “needed to get out” looks exchanged between us. Found lots of whole sand dollars, which I always consider a lucky sign. Only the military helicopters overhead reminded us that inland things are not so good.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Four years ago, when we had bad fires, people had very little warning before they had to evacuate. Many just grabbed their kids and pets and bolted. Some died trying to flee the fires.
This time it was much better, but huge numbers are now displaced.
I now keep a list taped to my cabinet door of what to get in case of evacuation, cause when you are panicked you can’t think straight (I saw this first hand):
• Papers: insurance, house documents, medical records. Basically grab your filing cabinet.
• Medications and sundries (our Turkish friends told us that in the big earthquake a few years ago, people ran out of feminine hygiene stuff and diapers)
• Pets, in pet carriers (apparently there are more pets than people in some shelters right now)
• Ir-replaceables (artwork, heirlooms, jewelry)
• Ditigal camera, with photos of your house (for insurance)
• Phones, laptops, hard drives and chargers
• Kids’ toys, games
• Pillows and blankets
All my classes have been cancelled til next week, and the kids are off school (shades of Turkey in the snow, how to occupy bored ones when they can’t go outside…)
Photo above shows what’s in the air over a 24 hour period.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
We are all OK, and the fires seem to be under control. Some dicey moments for those close to me, and at one point I though my house could be threatened. The winds just howl down the canyons and valleys of SoCal, spreading fire like you can’t believe.
So now the kids are out of school for the week, and I’m uncertain if I’ll be teaching tomorrow. I actually am a bit grateful for the break, although sorry about all the people who’ve lost their homes and pets.
Will write more tomorrow.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Dawn this morning, the sun is rising through a huge smoke cloud. I went to work this morning, half my students showed up, and after a few hours of teaching I let them go. My evening class and all classes tomorrow are cancelled. Driving today the freeways were empty, so people are staying home.
TV and radio have been better than internet in this emergency. News and map sites get trafficked too heavily and bog down. The fires can’t be mapped accurately because the smoke is too thick to see what is happening from the air.
Winds are forecast to continue til tomorrow afternoon. There are evacuations in some areas to the ocean now, tonight. This is simply incredible.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The dry hot Santa Ana winds from the east starting blowing last night and by this morning three wild fires had started, probably by downed power lines. One is in LA and two in SD. I also heard of a small one in OC. The Santa Ana is not supposed to die down until Monday evening, and these fires usually can’t be stopped. They move faster that you can run or, in some cases, drive. There is almost zero humidity in the air, and we’ve had almost no rain this year.
By 5pm my car was covered in ash, and the sun was setting blood red because of all the soot in the air. There are mandatory evacuations in many areas, and we don’t know what’s happening in Mexico—it doesn’t get reported here, but I imagine the situation is also pretty bad. It’s possible schools will be closed due to poor air quality tomorrow.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Since my return from Turkey I’ve gotten back in touch with some old friends. Why do we let friendships slip away? When we had a history of shared experiences, when we had such fun together? Sometimes lives just drift apart, making us feel we don’t have time for someone on a different lifepath. But being abroad has taught me the value of friendship, and also how enriching it is to spend time with people who aren’t “suburban with kids.” Glad we’re back in touch, L.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Trying to teach my boys to be responsible around the house, they must make their beds and fold their pjs. Recently my older son complained “folding is woman’s work.” I was shocked to hear this coming out of his mouth (my girlfriend told me I should have slapped him, and she’s a model mom). If I teach nothing else it is that men and women are equal.
“Where did this come from?” I grilled him.
“ I just thought of it.”
“Well, don’t think of it again!!!”
Good come-back, huh?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I pulled my show, “Portraits of Turkish Women,” down. My friends and colleagues ask me “So how’d it go?” And I say fine, how would it go? But then I realize what they are really asking is, did you sell anything? No, I didn’t and didn’t expect to. This was not a commercial gallery, but an artist-run space, albeit a very professional looking one. I’m not at all upset about not selling a painting. The main goal was for me to put myself out there, to get another one-person show on my c.v., and to talk about Turkey.
The paintings did engender conversation—about feminism (one student told me her husband asked her, “why do feminists always have an agenda?”) and about Turkey. My guests at the opening were most curious about the little avatars/princesses collaged onto the portraits, and I talked about the Disnification of just about everywhere, about how in Turkish culture there is a dearth of female personas that might appeal to little girls, and about how the ideas of “princess” and “strong woman” can coexist.
Anyway, next week I have a photo project in a group show. The piece is about the Turkish kitchen, how amazing meals come out of those cramped spaces.
Posted by kloeamongtheturks at 10/16/2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Do you see what our “Armenia Genocide” resolution is doing??? I just can’t believe the news. Turkish generals are proclaiming it’s the last straw from the USA, and are threatening to invade Northern Iraq in retaliation for us and Baghdad allowing the PKK (the Kurdish terrorist group) to operate in the area. Believe me, the Turkish army is nothing to mess with. This could make the situation in the Middle East much worse. Plus oil prices are sky high with the news. All this because Armenian lobbyists from my own California are pushing through this resolution that so gauls Turkish pride. I feel for Armenians, but this is not the time! More Kurds, Turks and Iraqis will get killed. And Americans too.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I come from a conservative family politically. And predictably, I’m a raving liberal (could you guess that?). But I’ve noticed that since I’m back from Turkey, where patriotism/Ataturk/Turkish heritage are not looked upon frivolously, I’m treating rituals like our Pledge of Allegiance more seriously. I think living abroad makes one quite “thankful for the USA,” quoting from a song my kids sing at school. Experiencing that Turks can hate what our government is doing (witness the Armenian resolution) but still treat American individuals with hospitality and warmth sort of puts things in perspective.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Tonight I went to an informal xxth reunion of my high school class. I graduated from a small private high school, but haven’t kept in touch with anyone. These things are always worrisome, because of the comparisons that go on between what you do and what he/she does, how we all look, and money/kids/success blah blah. But it was surprisingly easy. Maybe when we get to a certain age we are more forgiving of each other? Let’s hope so. And I have to say, everyone looked pretty damn good.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
This evening I made fried egg sandwiches and Kid.02 and I headed out to the beach for a dinner picnic. As I watched my six-year-old romp in front of that beautiful Pacific horizon I thought about:
• The Turks and Armenians and Kurds, stuck in this cycle of revenge and memory. What happened 100 years ago is lost to us, but many people on all sides were killed. If only we could live in the present, and Turkey could help its poor neighbors, and develop tourism for all the wealthy expats to come and visit, everyone could win… Why do we Americans have to stick our noses in situations that are so delicate, when we have enough problems as it is? (In Turkey, the Armenian and Kurdish issues are taboo, and most Turks see things very black and white, so our actions can only provoke outrage.)
• A great student of mine who withdrew from my class today due to illness. Is it because of his health that he worked so hard and was so honest? I hope he stays in touch.
• My loyal family, sticking by me and my decisions.
Then I saw the green flash for only the second time in my life. In that last moment before the sun is gone over the horizon, the light turns brilliant lime green just for an instant. It seemed like a sign and made me happy for the future.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
You know that book that’s popular now, where you live as if what you want in life has already happened, and then what you want will come true? This book (and I think there’s a video, haven't read or seen either) has also been translated into Turkish. So a friend of mine in Turkey read it, hated her job and began to clean her office as if she was leaving, and then she indeed got fired (a loss for her company).
Another friend of mine always lived extravagantly, even when she was poor, but now finds herself quite successful (of course she also worked her fingers to the bone to achieve success).
So what would my life look like as a successful artist? That’s the problem, defining success. Is it sales? Respect? Being happy with my work? Getting the tenure track job? Gallery representation? Painting or making art every day? I think the biggest thing for me is respect from the right people. Those people don’t even know I exist right now, sigh… But I’m going to NYC next month to check up on how my work is doing there, and push my agenda. Will be fun too!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Today and yesterday we’re finally having a Santa Ana in SoCal. It’s been unseasonably chilly here this fall, and now the hot desert winds are blowing, gorgeous. The sky and water are the bluest blue, and you can see the mountains and islands clearly. It makes you want to do crazy things, this weather.
Entering the second week of serious hours working. Only one day off each week. I’ve noticed my typical reaction to work/physical stress: food stops tasting good to me, I eat only for energy.
Opening went well, lots of my lovely students were there. Thanks, guys! Then went to a crit with painters I very much respect, and they were enthusiastic about my new series. (No one makes mean comments, but you listen to what they don't say to figure out what's not working.) Have been wanting to paint, but no time now. Am interested in doing some tiny paintings with my new gouache--the paint is, as my students say, awesome. Talens, Plakkaatverf Gouache, way to turn a girl artist on…
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I sent email announcements for my “Portraits of Turkish Women” exhibition in SoCal to my friends in Turkey. Now I’m getting the most lovely emails back:
from a close friend:
I miss you... and this semester going to be very sad I can say that. All students asking you. We saying that Kloe was go back to SoCal.
Anyway I put my life slowly in order. How about you? I received invitation of your exhibition. Thank you and congratulation.
I wish, I were there. I hope you will get big success in the art world of your country.
When I came to my room after the long summer break I saw alot of great art books in my office. I got shock. You left me a treasure.
Thank you for all. Today S and I we talk about you. She also missing you too much.
This semester I will go to Afyon Kocatepe Universty Fine Arts Faculty to give a painting studio class. It is going to be very hard but I need to be far away from Our Anatolian City just for a while..
Keeping touch with you
Have a nice day, take care your self
from my gallery in Ankara:
Congratulations ! Hope the guests like the portraits. We wonder about their impressions, especially when you compare with the people in Turkey. Looking forward to hear from you soon and best wishes,
from a Turkish artist friend:
sergini kutluyorum başarılar diliyorum çok güzel bir sergi olacagına eminim. yolladıgın çalışmayı çok sevdim.
(art above by Turkish glass artist Cemal Cingi)
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Oh dear, I am so exhausted. I even went to teach a class at the wrong time today. This week has seemed an eternity and it’s only Wednesday. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but the comparison is what’s killing me--in Turkey I taught only 13 hours a week. So now 28 hours is incredible to me. I know some of you may be thinking, well it’s not 40 hours. But this is 28 hours “performance” time, not including prepping, arriving early and staying after, grading, or any online student/bureaucratic stuff. OK, this is my last whining post, I promise.
This is a joggling board. I think it’s from the South. You sit on it and rock, and when lots of kids bounce at the same time, some fall off.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I opened a show of my portraits today. The actual reception will be Friday. So besides all the teaching I’m planning this party. As usual, worried no one will come. It’s not an exhibition to sell, but to educate, and start a conversation about life in Turkey and especially what it’s like to be a woman there.
Helping me is my friend, a wonderful artist who just had a big success in an exhibition of her own. Thanks J!