The Shape of Me
New York, NY
The Shape of Me is a silkscreen monprint composed of dozens of images of Afghan men, women and children superimposed over images from the Vietnam War. I have printed them in camouflage colors to suggest that civilan casualties often go unreported as the lack of media coverage renders them tragically invisible. In spite of these deliberate crimes of omission, and as a result of watchdog organizations like the AFSC, the world has borne witness to the deaths of thousand of innocent war victoms in both Asia and the Middle East. In response to the consequences of war, each of us is presented with the responsibility to say and do something to prevent more killing. For better or worse, how we respond to the moral challenges of our times defines who we are, as citizens, as parents, as neighbors, and as members of the global community. The Shape of Me is about this challenge.
Tomie Arai was born and raised in New York. She has worked collaboratively with community groups for over twenty years and sits on the boards of the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas, the Coast to Coast Women Artists of Color Organization, and the Bread and Roses Cultural Project of the 1199 Health and Hospitals Workers Union. She has designed public art works for Creative Time, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the General Services Administration's Art in Architecture Program for which she designed a mural to commemorate the African Burial Ground in New York City. She is a recipient of two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in Printmaking, a 1995 Joan Mitchell Visual Arts Grant, a 1997 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Visual Artist Residency, and a 1994 NEA Visual Arts Fellowship.