Updated: Nov 13, 2020
Earlier in the year, someone on facebook posted a black and white photo of two starving white men, the men were called Lee Rogers and John C. Todd, the image was taken at a prisoner of war camp in Manila, the Philippines on liberation day. They were using the image to prove that white people starved in able to create freedom from the Nazi’s and allied forces in the second world war. The image was created by famous war photographer for LIFE magazine 1945, Carl Mydans at Santo Thomas camp in the Philippines and used describe sacrifice for freedom. When I commented on the photo, I was told of the vandalism to the an elk sculpture, that was being used as a statue in its representation to David P. Thompson Foundation in Oregan earlier this year, 2020. The Elk was by artist Roland Hinton Perry 1900, the image used in a Black Lives Matter protest.
They said that the Elk was innocent in representation, the below image is by Beth Nakamura. However, this image shows so much in the true nature of the human condition. The relationship to the nature of power, the resilience of the Elk in harsh conditions, the ability for survival and the man stands on the statue as if victorious to his power struggle. The person didn’t mention anything about the history of David P. Thompson, which is of course the story that needs to be heard.
I was a taken aback by the dots connecting in such a careless, worldly, general way. However, this kind of image confronting experience, reminded me of an art curating process, in which we can subconsciously can make links, if we look hard we can build a narrative.
I had recognised the black and white image of the men in camp, as my father and grandparents had been interned in exactly the same camp. I have a pile of photos and writings from this camp, mine are from the people that were actually at the camp. Quite a few emotions went through my mind, the story in this camp was complex and my family survived, actually to greater sacrifice to a family whom were murdered by the Japanese for helping my family. All the people interned at camp did not have enough food in the last six months whilst the Japanese were loosing the war. However through the years before then, they were able to manage. My grandfather died two years after the war, my grandmother was found on Hove beach later in life, in complex circumstances, approaching 80.
I felt all the emotions of who I am, how I feel about these images, how this image was used and contextualised in such a different way, that I could barely relate to, how the photographer from Life magazine was seen and sensationalised, yet the voices of those who were directly relevant and survived, were so quiet in all ways; in black lives matter and from prisoner of war. In my mind, I saw the works mentioned together, the sculpture of the Elk, images of my fathers camp, images from protesting in public places, images from the volcanic world, a sculptural artist called Jamie North, the above image is called Swamp Anatomy; sculpture that expresses resilience in death and life, artist represented by informality gallery, Henley on Thames. Also, my own art work from ‘Memories of Sirius’. A mixture of life and death, a resilient experience in the earth, in which new life always emerges, people find their call and their voice:
We need to accept our vulnerability, our fragility, war or slavery can happen to anyone. In my past life memories, I have memories of being a slave on a cotton plantation and another; as a young boy stolen from a village by a Nazi, to fill weaponry - a cannon. I chose suicide in that life, at the age of nine, by tricking him into shooting me in the head.
I also have memories of being in powerful positions; in high priesthood in Egypt and royalty in Sirius. All these lives of power and experiences of abuse of power provide lessons around mutual respect and care. People don't want to hear the truth about the human condition they just want to express emotions. Human life needs care, we simply need to look after each other and accept our vulnerabilities. Abuse of power is a human condition that rises out of neglect. Neglect creates a vacuum - a breeding ground for narcism, avoidance and entitlement. If we cared more deeply in a more mutually respectful worldly way we would be happier as people, we would close those gaps. We need to understand our fragility and vulnerability in a more constructive way, getting fully involved with each other to unite and meet each other in our weaknesses as well as our strengths.
Our fragile world is on the brink of unresolvable change. The world’s destruction, maybe even the end of human life. Then the earth will become dormant for a long period and perhaps find new life. The resilience of the human spirit will live on as seen from an understanding of past lives, future lives and history of the life of this planet. If you really saw the whole picture, of power, fear, vulnerability, nature, how would you take a position at this time?
In all this we see our vulnerability, we see our fragility, we see anger and frustration and confusion around power struggles, occupation, decay and then life. We see people terrified of the emotions of those persons caught up as prisoners or slaves, now also as economic prisoners of a world that knows no limits in protecting it’s power resources and vulnerability. In doing so the world creates a shadow of devastation and abuse of power.
We see a world scared of caring for the vulnerable as in the most part, people simply don’t know how. They do not have the coping strategies to listen and to help people lead themselves out of their pain and they struggle to be present, to love and to care. Then there are people that don’t believe they can heal, or that their pain can’t be met by understanding, they are overwhelmed by a feeling of futility and failure, of having no sense of future or options.
We also see the power struggles of people needing to be heard, with huge emotions, overwhelming others and then there are those in an elevated position of power, trying to regain control, authority. Suppressing and oppressing these emotions further as they don’t know what do do with them.
How can we let emotions be heard in public spaces in safe ways that enable impact with lasting effects?
Public art and protest enables outdoor spaces to ‘hold’ our emotions. Care for us, for our vulnerability but also for our resilience, our resistance, to those whom elevate themselves to hold onto power out of fear, enabling a development process back in to a grounded understanding of the care and nurture to create life, we need to nurse each other in to understanding and to safety.
Those persons in elevated positions, whom don’t have the skills to listen, to learn, to enable opportunity and to simply get involved need to be confronted with life. Public art needs to demonstrate active listening abilities. The world is needy, demanding and people have raw emotions, but we need to be met, to be heard, to be given a voice, then we are all given our freedom. If one person is in prison or a slave, the world is to. It is time we understood that we are one.
We as people are resilient to hardship; we survive, we live on, we create legacy, but we will always inherit those matters that are unresolved. Those matters that are neglected. They are the gaps or vacuums between us that make people in power want to control those that feel more marginalised; they may go as far as to abuse power, to silence, undermine and weaken.
Choose if you are to get involved and make a stand, or if you are going to be silent and observe?
The power of art is being seen, sharing resilience, finding voice. Let us see what happens next, what will you do next?
‘All is well’, is a war time code that enabled a message through to say ‘I am alive’, this is a letter from my grandfather about his time at camp, its the only experience I have of him:
The truth at Santo Thomas for us, is the Irish family, the Shannons ran away to the mountains after Pearl Harbour. The Japanese, hunted them down even though they had lost the war at this time in this area, they were shot and murdered for helping my family. Today is remembrance day and I give honour and gratitude to the Shannon's, I also reflect on the endurance of those years of war and the extreme loss and hardship my family and others suffered, imprisoned by leaders that abused their power. We have to find a way to enable a mutually respectful worldly relationships. We are in the middle of a pandemic yet how strong is our unity? How well are we looking out for each other? How well are we able to surrender to what is happening? Do we trust each other to lead ourselves in to our future?
Art work by Amanda McGregor - Memories of Sirius - oil, acrylic and pastel, Sustain Home - photographic image, Burning Bush - photographic image. Copyright 2020
Interventions - Is political undermining a factor of insecure anxious and avoidant attachment on a mass cultural level?
The development of cultural harmony, is a natural phenomena unless history intervenes through conflict in war, political occupation, exploitation, theft of people, land and or artifacts, undermining through dictatorship, or projections of power. These are all key factors that can happen to a country in the process of historical development. The community has core values and attributes that can be interfered with, violated and there can be extreme loss of trust and raping of core infrastructure.
John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth have understood the relationship of community and individuals to be effective from three vantage points secure, insecure anxious and insecure avoidant. This understanding has only filtered in to our wide world culture over the last twenty years, so how we influence and react to social, political and extreme situations has not fully be exposed through this perspective or visibility. Attachment disorder arises when the primary caregiver or guardian to the dependant, child or baby is not of a secure nature. The community that has been effected and let down in its primary needs of care then develops individuals with anxious avoidance of insecure anxiety. These then can move in to a struggle to develop dependable relationships with a secure attachment style, creating a vacuum and complicated expressions of need.
With out the core cultural aspects being attended to, in a disaster of political upheaval; a country, community or culture can express and demonstrate relationships that miss a core understanding of being met in their needs and relationships. In these instances a search for attention and dominance can exist to attempt to fill the vacuum of an anxiously attached person or community, finding a void through avoidant behaviour; needs are not met and a dysfunctional process presents. At this point we may see examples of narcism, exploitation, dictatorship, avoidance and an expression of mentalisation from overthinking, anxiety and insecurity.
To bring security and secure relationships, to go beyond mentalisation as Eric Spiegal PHD expresses in his paper ‘Attachment Focused Hypnosis in Psychotherapy for Complex Trauma; Attunement, Representation and Mentalization’ - Journal International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Volume 64, 2016 we must go to a psychic vantage point to let go of anxiety and attune and create more meaningful connections. This is possible using sensory perception, intuition and relating highly to the subconscious or universal conscious. The culture and community, then naturally develops high levels of spiritual and emotional intelligence, which enables mutual respect, a release of narcism and a strong and respectful ability to care. We can see the split in identity in roles in the Philippines, often a very caring community, filipino's are often carers or nannies in this country demonstrating strong emotional and spiritual intelligence, yet they can feel low in self esteem due to their position. The opposite can also be seen; a confusion with the patriarchal roles with narcism and projections of power, born again out of low self esteem and neglect through countless occupations in their homeland. I apologise for a general look at culture, that may over look success in areas. However, important to realise so the people are not exploited, (a form of economic slavery) but are helped in to mutually respectful positions and growth, as the country is encouraged to develop. However, without the core elements of the insecurities and tragedies being taken care of there is an inability to develop core practice of integration of 'non violent communication' in the community, education, awareness and understanding is needed. The culture may move from behaviours of narcism and attachment disorder without a stabiliser to enable flexible and freely paced development. Awareness in expression of the pains of intervention through occupation, or exploitation, which creates a corruption of cultural values can help to bring back identity and culture.
In countries in which occupation was ended with a focused exit strategy, that bought stability and a 'secure detachment' like Hong Kong 1997 we see a far greater ability to adapt as independence finds root, with appropriate resistance to control from China. However when ‘avoidance’ is used in exit strategy, in detachment, such as India partition 1947, we see tragedy and massacre and a nation that takes back its development and culture in a way that needs attention to help to stable anxiety and insecurity, the split was intentional and the tragedy and outcome full of avoidance, the rug was taken from under them. This was a conscious 'avoidance' away from the responsibilities that the British Government had to the people, it was neglectful and careless, heart breaking. Considering the trauma of occupation and detachment, developments such as war projected on community India and the Philippines, 1942 - 1947 these psychological understandings of attachment theory and narcism, from Bowlby, Ainsworth and Spiegal; could be of immense benefit in binging peace and understanding in cultural development, enabling independence in trade, culture and wider global community life by consciously bringing awareness to development, communications and inspiring esteem. These theories can be bought to any exit of relationship; with a business, community, organisation or individual.
However with the theft of people there is a more complex understanding, in which much can never be compensated; as the loss of relationship to homeland and roots, historically, is extreme. Giving a sense of freedom does not necessarily mean the person is free; without esteem, identity, economy and history been given voice, space and rights. Freedom is helped through support in to financial buoyancy with status, in the development of position in community and through a respect in voice and identity. The development process needs nurture and support through care, education, rights in cultural expression and sensory experience, enabling a call through the subconscious to help with the development in universal understanding that taps in to the universal consciousness. (God conscious) When direction is needed beyond the limits of a 'failed' or 'limited' system, inspiration is needed. Visions and strategy can form using approaches that tap in to Spiegal's suggested techniques to enable an integrated peaceful world.
The development of empathy and extra sensory experience, to enable a mutually respectful world in which power issues are met with understanding can lead to trust and stability. Care is the responsibility of power. To be caring we must use an advanced level of empathy no matter the nature of power, as all lives matter.
For consultation, training and development in communications, inspired vision, sensory perception and empathy please see www.belovedlight.com or email@example.com. Contact me also for Art, Exhibition and Curating.
Written by Amanda McGregor, copyright all rights reserved 2020