Hearts and Hands was a multi-media collaborative effort incorporatin painting, audio and video created live on stage over 2 weekends at The Victory Grill during the EAST AUSTIN STUDIO TOUR 2013. The setting for the project was the stage in the back room of the Victory Grill.
Hearts and Hands refers to Love and Work, which is the glue that holds a community together. But it pays homage not just to our immediate ancestors or culture which can often separate us into “us” and “them” but rather to those further back, 70,000 years back, when we almost vanished out of existence. When life gets me down and I need perspective I find distance by imagining myself back there, crouching in the recesses of time where I watch in awe as a small band of scruffy humans holds constant vigil against the dangers beyond the fire. I whisper my deep gratitude to those who’s survival against the odds made life possible for us. When I open my eyes after these musings I see miracles everywhere.
I believe in the alchemical idea that outward actions have a corresponding reaction in the interior spiritual world. To this effect. Hearts and Hands welcomed community collaboration, the sharing of stories and painted hands added to the ever changing painting. In the final video production, stories and music intertwine. At 2:08 there is a visual story of gift giving. One great musician offers a fiddle to another great musician. (Barbara K and Richard Bowden) Music must have been a powerful connector before there were words. In preparation for this exhibition “Around the World in 24 Years” the central canvas reincarnated into smaller works. The addition of the gold leaf alludes to the alchemical idea that actions performed in the physical world have a corresponding reaction in the interior spiritual world.
It is fitting that the show took place in the historic Victory Grill, in the once thriving Black community of east Austin, a venue which has survived against the odds through love and sheer hard work.
The soundtrack includes audio from Richard Bowden’s archive of old cassette tapes from 30 and 60 years ago including the voice of his father long since gone. In the video the stories are sequenced so as to recede back in time.
Below are the repurposed artworks made from the canvas shown in the backdrop of our Victory Grill concert. They have been mounted to board and gold leaf has been added which is reference the alchemical idea that outward actions have a corresponding reaction in the interior spiritual world and transforms.