"As American As Mom and
My interactive project, "As American As Mom and Apple Pie,"
earned a Jurors Award in The Lawndale Art and Performance Center's
"Big Show." It engaged the community by inviting them to share artistically prepared and conceptually metaphoric apple pie as they participated in conversations about U.S. foreign policy.
As an Artist and Mother, my time to think about ideas for art projects occurs while managing the day-today activities of the home and family. It is in the home that I feel the emotional impact of that which I hold most dear; my loved ones, my hearth and its standing as a metaphor for our nation and the world. Despite all we individually or collectively as citizens do to "hold our own" and "protect those we love from harm" (including our country,) the precariousness and arbitrariness of life becomes increasingly clear as we reflect back and realize how little power we exert to shape events; most frighteningly, those that recently propelled our nation to war.
In reaction to this, I am motivated to make art that I call my "enacting Democracy pieces. They are performance installation art works that use nationalistic/patriotic symbolism: the military, Mom, apple pie, to construct tableau that help elicit discussions about American foreign policy. These works engage the public as brcad is collectively broken and conversation ensues. Conflicting pressures and perspectives emerge as we consider our current foreign policy situation.
The delicious Artist-made apple pies, whose crusts are emblazoned with the stenciled iconic images of military equipment, such as, Apache helicopters, tanks, F-14 aircraft, nuclear bomb explosion clouds etc. are cut into small, taste-sized, morsels that are offered to Gallery visitors. Many visitors receive the pie tastes enthusiastically, as they down the apple pie bites quickly with relish, the sweet and fragrant pie, going down easily. The metaphor is not lost, as it showed how things wrapped in the cover of nationalistic symbolism are hard to resist, more, they are likely accepted with little thought.
Others having thought about the possible meaning of the combination of a quintessential American icon, like Apple Pie, juxtaposed with the subject of war and machines of its violence, decide not to have any. Some viewed the pies as nationalistic and patriotic gestures. Others viewed the pies as a critique of American militarism and of an ill-conceived venture into a war in the Middle East that had no good plan for what came afterwards. The performative nature of the pie exchanges truly embodied Democracy in action.