Archive for month: November, 2013

Bold Commitment

In life, as with this marble sculpture, one has to take risks and I will always remember the commitment that was required in carving this block of marble.

This piece, created in the name of one of my dear departed friends, required an inordinate amount of commitment with each strike of the hammer, especially the rough base from which the work emerges.

I would like to share with you a quote that has served me well as I carved this marble and that has influenced my life since the day I first read it.

It was at University and my existentialism professor, Fred, was someone that I would visit from time to time and with whom I had great conversations concerning life.

One day, confronted with one of those huge decisions that would change your life forevermore, I went to his office, hoping that something he might say would trigger something in my brain and I would magically know what to do.

To my horror, the door was closed, but there was a paper taped to the door and this is what it read:

Commitment

Until one is committed there is hesitance, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of

which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents

and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. 

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it -boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

W.N. Murray – The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951

 

Thank you Fred, Murray and Goethe!

You have served me well!

And thanks to John Layton for the wonderful advice but more than anything else; for caring.

By Boky

Broken Faith

As far back as I can remember somebody was always teaching me to believe, to have faith, to accept certain things as universal truths and not to doubt in certain things.

At the same time I was being taught to question everything, to think critically and learn to come up with my own conclusions.

This is a dichotomy that leads us down a slippery slope.

This sculpture is about that faith.  The faith we have in our lives, in love, in ourselves and our abilities to accomplish certain things.

We need faith that everything will turn out all right, that we are going to be OK.

We are fragile and that faith is easily broken, cracked.

Faith in a religion is yet another story.

There we have the distance between the institutionalized idea and a spiritual one.

The spiritual is often being used as a way to manipulate and give credence to the institution.  Suspension of disbelief will get us to the next step….

In the long run, critical thinkers will have to come to terms with this.

This type of faith is broken when intelligence recognizes control.

Faith in a spiritual concept involves practices that serve to expand our minds such as meditation.

This brings with it an awareness that will invariably lead us to a level of consciousness by which we can fight this loss of faith.

We must believe in ourselves and self-awareness can restore this faith.

By Boky and Blake

Resistance to Islamic Culture

How can we protect the women of our western culture from sharia law…

and still conserve an openness that prevents the myopic vision of a ‘them versus us’ scenario in today’s social situation in France?

Génération Identitaire is a group of young French nationals whose goal is to wage war against the influx of extra-Europeans into France,

specifically the Muslim population that is growing by leaps and bounds. (According the INSEE-National Institute of Statistics, 43% of the population of Paris are immigrants)

Refusing to become a “conquered” people, these young people feel the need to “take back their country” before their culture is lost.

In October they held a protest on the roof of an unfinished mosque in Poitiers (a scene reminiscent of the darker moments in history) demanding a referendum on France’s immigration laws.

Aspiring to re-appropriate French culture, history and social services, they say that a country can recover from many things but not from the replacement of their national population.

More recently a protest march was held in Paris.  With slogans like “RESISTANCE AU FASCISME ISLAMISTE” (Resist Fascist Islam) fervently being chanted, they hope to make a difference.

The last official census in France in 2012 estimated there are 6.5 million Muslims in France, and with a higher fertility rate per household it is estimated that by 2030 they could make up 40% of the French population.

It seems that the target of the protester’s anger is aimed towards sharia law rather than individual Muslims or Islamic Culture.

However, the social unrest is mounting and both sides appear very angry and we all know that anger only breeds anger.

There is very little about any of this in the French press. Why is this?

Today there are some 750 “No Go Zones” in France; areas within cities where the French authorities do not rule and will not go, known as Dar al-Islam, “the place where Muslims rule.”

The fervor on both sides reminds me of those whose faith is irrefutable to the point of blindness!

Where this all may lead remains to be seen, as the temperature rises towards civil disorder at best and a form of urban warfare at worst.

By Blake and Boky

UN condones China’s human rights record

UN General Assembly condones China’s human rights record and reappoints membership to the UN Human Rights Council

One of the founding members of the 2006 Council, China was re-elected for a second three-year term in 2009 and  was one of the 14 elected members to the 47-member UN human rights body at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

With 176 favorable votes from the 192 UN member states, winning a three-year term in the Council from 2014 to 2016.

“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of human rights.

It has made remarkable achievements and has vigorously developed international cooperation in the field of human rights,” said Wang Min, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, after the election.

The US-based Human Rights Watch expressed its disappointment with some of the names.

“With the return of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Cuba, human rights defenders will have their work cut out for them at the Human Rights Council next year,” Peggy Hicks, a HRW expert was quoted by Reuters.

In a pointed reference to China, and Russia, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has said the newly elected members of the council include “some that commit significant violations of the rights the council is designed to advance and protect”. [1]

One can only ask what purpose does a body of this nature serve if it can not stand and condemn China and Saudi Arabia for their human rights record?

How will we ever change the world if we can not speak the truth?

By Boky and Blake

[1] The BRICS PostNovember 13, 2013

 

Guantanamo the Story

The background to this sculpture began long ago with a recurring dream that interrupted my nights as a child.

I dreamed I had been shot on a battlefield and the small birthmark over my heart was evidence of that experience.

I came to believe these dreams might have been scenes from another life I had lived, one where my life was taken unjustly.

Over time the dream faded and I rarely thought about it except when I was confronted with historical narratives in films and books pertaining to the First World War.

Rage, anxiety and resentment would sweep over me when I learned of the incompetence of the military command of the time, and the excessive waste of human life that ensued.

One French commander in particular really rankled me – General Ferdinand Foch, who didn’t think twice about ordering his men into impossible situations, sacrificing them like they were toy soldiers.

He also shot an incredible number of men for mutiny, cowardice or desertion when they failed to obey his orders.

After the War French politicians hailed him as a hero and when I heard a biography of this pathetic and unfit leader was in the works, my indignation could not be contained.

I created this sculpture to honor those men who were treated so unfairly and to remind myself that atrocities are still committed today in the name of war and human rights are still being stripped from individuals. Guantanamo is still there.

By Blake and Boky

Exhibition l’eau à l’œuvre

Salon 2013    l’eau à l’œuvre  Comité National Monégasque de l’AIAP – UNESCO

VERNISSAGE   jeudi 21 novembre 2013 à partir de 18h 30

EXPOSITION    22 novembre au 08 décembre 2013
tous les jours de  13 h à 19 h

Salle d’Exposition, 4 Quai Antoine 1er,  Port de Monaco

Exposition des Artistes du Comité National Monégasque de l’AIAP – UNESCO

 

Document 555 Notice of Investigation of Falun Gong

Document No. 555 – the Falun Gong’s story….

Following my blog regarding China’s request to join The United Nations Human Rights Council, I fell upon a report by Xinhua (the state-run news agency) regarding the arrest last week of five people charged with blackmail and with using the Internet to spread false information.

The government is very actively engaging in a new policy to stop the spreading of rumours through the use of the Internet and blogs. (Reuters – Tuesday Oct. 22, 2013)

It appears that communist party officials are now feeling the same nervousness that was felt in 1998, when Jaing Zemin ordered the Ministry of Public Security to bring back proof that Falun Gong practitioners were, in fact, engaging in heretical teaching (xie jiao).

Document no. 555, “Notice of the Investigation of Falun Gong” was to provide such proof. [1]

This began the persecution of thousands of people that practice Falun Gong, who do so in the name of ‘Truth, Compassion and Forbearance’.

Allegedly all members of Falun Gong were to be eradicated. [2]

Many were extra-judicially arrested, given prison terms, and sent to reeducation camps.

All this in order to fix their ideology from the erroneous ‘Truth, Compassion and Forbearance’ to something more acceptable and in line with another ideology, essentially spiritual beliefs against militant atheism and historical materialism. [3] [4]

Former Canadian Secretary of State David Kilgour along with David Matas (human rights lawyer), after extensive investigations into the Falun Gong persecution, published the “Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China”.

This report concluded that the numbers of Falun Gong victims of systemic organ harvesting in China was very large. [5] [6]

It appears that the new group to look out for and potentially eradicate are those who write and publish blogs with the intention of airing their grievances or perhaps exposing the corrupt.

Being a society where the media is so tightly controlled by government, we are already seeing a reaction.

Since August of this year, hundreds have been arrested and while most have been released there are still some who have been criminally charged.

Just like with the Falun Gong, those guilty of social change and potential unrest must be stopped!

As Xinhua put it: “The irresponsible spread of information has brought extreme negative effects to society.” (Reuters)

A society at risk… or government control at stake?

By Boky and Blake

[1] David Palmer, “Qigong Fever:Body, Science and Utopia in China,” p 265.

[2] David Palmer, “Qigong Fever:Body, Science and Utopia in China,” p 267.

[3] Julia Ching, “The Falun Gong: Religious and Political Implications”, American Asian Review, Vol. XIX, no. 4, Winter 2001, p. 12

[4] James Tong, “Revenge of the Forbidden City: The suppression of the Falungong in China, 1999-2005,” p 109.

[5] “Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China”. 6 July 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2009.

[6] “China ‘harvests live organs'”. News24.com. Retrieved 7 July 2006.

 

© Copyright 2017 Blake Ward. | Atelier Blake, 5 rue des Violettes, Monte-Carlo, Monaco 98000
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