Images of Exile
Melissa Gill and Tomoyo Ihaya
These are images of a collaborative project that has been ongoing for the past two years between Melissa Gill and Tomoyo Ihaya. The work is in response to poems written about the physical and emotional suffering of a people who live in exile from their land. In the beginning of their project, the artists passed a book back and forth through the mail, each adding more drawings and writings to the pages. This work is dedicated to those people who suffer in exile. It is like a prayer for resolution, peace, and homecoming.
-- Melissa Gill
From the perspective of process philosophy, we humans live and move and have our being amid our felt connections with other people, other living beings, and the lands that mean the most to us, because we have a history with them. These lands dwell within us physically when we are close to them, and in our memories and imaginations when we are far away. Both in their physical presence and in their imaginative presence, they are home. When our felt connections with our homelands are cut off -- when they are severed from us -- the pain that we feel is like the loss of a loved one. We live in exile. Exile is a political reality and a spiritual reality. It is the felt presence of an absence so deep that nothing can make it whole again -- except love and justice. Love and justice begin, not simply with an affirmation of individual rights to life, liberty, and happiness; but with a respect for felt connections.
-- Jay McDaniel
See also What Can be Felt but Not Seen: The Art of Melissa Gill and also Art as Amulet: The Buddhist-Inspired Art of Melissa Gill