Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Family Assemblage

I'll be honest. I'd been seeing the Raymond Saunders piece on the sly for a while before I introduced it to my family -- I guess I felt like I had to wait for the right time to bring it into the fold. When that right time came, we dressed up in our finery and stood before "Assemblage." Coen played "Song of the Wind" on his violin and I held the bouquet of flowers. It was a very tender ceremony.

I think perhaps the most obvious compatibility between our family and Saunders is the habit of collecting things and assembling them into a kind of ordered chaos, whether it's bits of paper, chalk, paint, a chair, newsprint, a box of cereal. We too collect things, and though we don't necessarily assemble them as well as Saunders, there's a certain art to our household chaos, just the same. Among the objects on Saunders’ piece, one can see cornflakes, paintings, a set of Chinese checkers, a mask, an article on Tuskegee airmen, etc. The assemblage serves to preserve artifacts from a bygone era and evokes a kind of nostalgia for the past. Were we to assemble a family panel on the wall like Saunders' "Assemblage," it would likely include Sylvie's pink framed rainbow sunglasses and stuffed toy guinea pigs, ("Guin" and "Guin-Guin"), Coen's little shoulder bag embroidered with the word Ecuador, full of coins, a compass, secret messages written in code, and a popsicle stick whittled to a sharp point. Ben's section of panel might include items like a handkerchief, a mug of strong coffee, an I-pod, and notebooks full of his second novel. Mine would have a pile of library books, a pair of fingerless gloves, and a diagram of my novel-in-progress in colorful sticky-notes on the wall. We surround ourselves with objects that are dear to us, and comfortable, and from the pile emerges a family narrative, and the beginning of the history we will assemble together.

No comments:

Post a Comment