Towards the Second Victory (Keep Us Flying)
During World War II service members in segregated units fought valiantly on behalf of the United States despite the racism they faced at home and even in the military while fighting and dying for their country. These service members fought for a “Double Victory” over both fascism and racism.
Despite showing outstanding bravery, survivors of units such as the Nisei and Tuskegee airmen were treated as second-class citizens when they returned home. The first victory was won in 1945, but 80 years later they are still fighting for the second.
My starting point was an iconic World War II poster portraying Tuskegee Squadron hero Major R. Diaz. Referring to the Tuskegee airmen, the poster asks Americans to “Keep Us Flying” by buying war bonds. I isolated the head of the airman from that poster and placed it in the frame to the lower left of this mixed media. I positioned him so that he looks directly towards an eagle that represents the United States. The eagle was painted by my Italian grandmother in the early 20th century.
The work is designed in colors reminiscent of clouds and the sky to emphasize the aerial connection. Between the frames I have strung a portion of a necklace that represents the glass ceiling that remains. Necklace components include aquamarine, Murano glass, and freshwater pearls.
Custom framed with museum glass in a sophisticated deep wooden frame in collaboration with Chevy Chase Art Gallery, Washington, DC.
Price: USD 2,500.
Frame color: Silver
Size (in inches): 13 x 11 x 4
Though many designs appear simple, each work in fact takes several months to create. The final version is rarely the one initially envisioned; the laws of gravity force numerous adjustments. Execution involves a multitude of skills, some of which are acquired specifically to achieve the desired artistic result. In fact, it took several years of experimenting before I even hit upon a technique for creating assemblages.
The framing process is itself a component of the work, both conceptually and artistically. Though the frame is clean and modern in appearance, the framing process is not as simple as it seems. The determination whether to create a "room" (as with Born Free) or an intimate atmosphere (as with What Price Silence) is in fact part of the artistic process.
Works are custom framed to provide sufficient depth to accomplish my artistic goals as well as to support the weight of the work (often 40-60 pounds). The 4-inch deep decorative wooden frame curves outward to bring the work closer to the viewer.
As many designs are supported by the base as well as the backing, the framing process can be tricky. It took several months of experimentation to determine how to create a work that it was practical to frame. The glass protects the work from damaged caused by dust and dusting.