The Fragments Collection is an extraordinary expression of tragedy and hope, war and artistic expression, and the desire to make a difference.
In 2003 I was invited to teach at the University of Hanoi. Little did I know how affected I would be over what I encountered in both Vietnam and Cambodia.
The ongoing effects of landmines that still lay waiting, recognizing no cease-fire order, nor able to discriminate between the step of a child or a soldier in the 1960’s, landmines still claim many victims each month.
The result is a series of nineteen one-quarter life-size bronze sculptures which I deliberately deconstructed and turned into “fragments.”
I hope to subvert traditions of figurative sculpture by creating a haunting visual paradox that embodies both beauty and destruction.
Each of the sculptures are named after a landmine.
The earliest use of a mine (from the Latin “mina”, meaning vein of ore), was a weapon made of spikes, or stakes, a caltrops, reportedly used as early as 3BC.
The introduction of gunpowder in the 14th century saw the production of an underground cannonball.
During the US Civil War “on-contact” explosives were deemed to be an inexpensive and wholesale method to destroy the enemy, although history notes many Generals calling their use an “unworthy and improper conduct of war.”
Landmines only appeared on a large scale in 1918 as an answer to the threat of German assault tanks.
Once they discovered soldiers could easily retrieve and reset these mines, military “ingenuity” decided to invent anti-personnel mines designed specifically not to kill, just maim and slow the enemy down.
Since WW2 the proliferation and production of landmines has increased astronomically.
There have been an estimated 400 million made since 1939 with 100 million planted on our earth, and 110 million are believed to be stockpiled.
The Fragments are only shown as an exhibition associated with an organization supporting landmine education or removal, and a half of all sales are donated to that cause.
Since 2007 the sales of Fragments sculptures have helped clear mine fields in Vietnam and Cambodia, remove cluster munitions in Kosovo, funded mine risk education in Afghanistan and create minefield maps in Angola.
Seeing that art can mobilize activism, I strive to create an account of history often overlooked by art – the victims and survivors of the remnants of war.
I also hope the Fragments speak to resolution and reconstruction, to truth and hope.