Sounds of the Ocean

Sounds of the Ocean

Sounds of the Ocean

Lemon Tree for Suhair

Lemon Tree for Suhair

I made Sounds of the Ocean in 2006 when I was traveling and working in the West Bank in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. I interviewed Palestinians for this project ─ many of whom have become good friends ─ with questions from people in the U.S. The most poignant questions I asked were “What is your dream and what is your idea of paradise?” When I asked these questions of Suhair, who lives in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the West Bank, she answered that she wanted to hear the sound of the ocean and have a lemon tree in her garden. Suhair lives in a refugee camp near Bethlehem that is 30 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. She is not allowed access to the ocean nor does she have space in her cramped home in the camp for a lemon tree. Her answer and the answers of other Palestinians struck me strongly. When I returned to the U.S., I performed a ritual on the coast in Oregon. I placed different objects in a golden frame on an artist’s easel by the ocean to reflect the dreams of the Palestinians with whom I had spoken. First I placed the open golden frame, then I placed a painting of a lemon tree for Suhair, then I placed a Palestinian flag for Joseph, who wanted “peace anywhere.” Finally I placed a portrait of Taghrid, who wanted to “be able to travel freely and to study.” These dreams are still unfulfilled for my friends in Palestine almost 10 years later.

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Sherry Wiggins combines the mediums of sculpture, installation, photography, film, drawing and painting. Her work is reflective, often participatory, and rooted within cultural difference, spiritual transformation, and women’s issues. Wiggins is currently working on a multi-faceted international project in which she researches and embodies the work of various remarkable women artists of the 20th century. Wiggins exhibits nationally and internationally from her home base of Boulder, Colorado.

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