Lee Lee
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The Cradle Project

June 2008

As the growing child within my womb tumbles around and gently prods my rib cage, I lash another sun bleached rib bone to the rusty frame of an abandoned baby carriage. How fortunate is this child within me, who will be born to a full breast instead of being immediately confronted with the severity of famine.

The carriage I am working on serves as an armature for a sculpture being built for The Cradle Project; an extraordinary gathering of over 500 artists who are responding to the plight of countless children in Sub Saharan Africa. Naomi Natale, a sculptor based in Albuquerque, was inspired to build this exhibit after photographing children who lived from a dump in Kenya. When a couple of them vanished, it occurred to her how close they lived to death on a daily bases and wanted to take action in our own land of plenty.

My time spent time in Northern, Southern and Eastern Africa has given me the opportunity to be inspired by the power that emanates from the land itself and which manifests through the people who dwell there. I have not witnessed such intense struggle any other place in the world. These struggles have entered in my work through building fine arts exhibits in response to the problem of AIDS in Africa, as well as collaborating with several artists for exhibits in regards to Genocide at the Mizel Museum and the International Conference of Genocide Scholars in Sarajevo in 2007. The struggle and perseverance are subjects that remain very close to me, and I plan to instill my first child to both the power and sorrow in Africa.

My baby’s head is currently nestled within my pelvis bone; his first cradle. Turn a pelvis bone upside down and it is transformed into an ominous mask-like form. This death mask hovers over the cradle I built for The Cradle Project, to reflect the death that hovers constantly for children being born into famine and strife in Africa.

 

The Cradle Project will open on Saturday, June 7th in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This historic and unprecedented art installation –two years in the making– will feature over five hundred cradles and cribs made by artists from around the world using solely scrap and recycled materials. Using the symbolism of empty cradles to represent the lost potential of an estimated 48 million children orphaned by disease and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, The Cradle Project is designed to provoke art into action. The ultimate mission is to promote awareness about this crisis and to raise financial support to help feed, shelter, and educate these forgotten children. Set against a towering backdrop of falling sand, these empty cradles will speak volumes about the permanence of loss, as children’s lives and potential - these cradles - become buried.

WHAT: The Cradle Project Exhibition and Opening Reception
WHERE: The Banque, 219 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
WHEN: Exhibition – June 7-28, 2008, Thursdays through Saturdays, 1 pm – 5 pm
Opening Reception – June 7, 2008, 12pm – 5 pm
WHO: The Cradle Project, featuring cradles made by artists from around the world.

Visit The Cradle Project website