Taking Flight was inspired by a poem by Emily Dickinson: “Hope” is the thing with feathers-/That perches in the soul-/And sings the tune without the words-/And never stops-at all-… The bird in the cage symbolizes a creative thought, locked within the mind by one’s fears or limitations set up by oneself or others. But once the cage is open, the bird is set free and the birds exploding out represent the endless possibilities of the imagination.
Perhaps because I grew up watching children on the streets of Nairobi transforming metal cans into toy cars or rolling up plastic bags and twine into soccer balls, I am constantly drawn to transforming rejected materials into something new. I have also tried over the years to merge my art and my writing, the two processes always complimentary, yet running parallel in my life, refusing to come together.
It is through paper-mache that I have been able to fuse the writing and the art and to transform my rejected materials into something new.
Over many years of writing, I had accumulated stacks of manuscripts. Rather than throwing them out, I began tearing them into strips and forming them into shapes through paper-mache. The manuscripts that I had rejected to be edited and corrected were reborn into birds to tell a new story.
I find the repetitive process of creating multiple birds meditative and healing. Each piece is created as an individual sculpture that is part of a much larger installation.