Epidemic is a series of weavings thematically connected by the struggles, the despair, and the stories of hope surrounding addiction. Each weaving is created with strips of fabric on which people affected by addiction write a wish, a prayer, a dream, a memory. The messages of love and loss are knotted and woven together, then threaded onto and suspended from sticks found in Harrowgate Park in Kensington, one of the places I go with Angels in Motion to help those suffering on the streets.
Harrowgate Park is just blocks from where I grew up. My childhood friend, who lived across the street, fell victim to the pull of addiction. Years later, I intervened to help raise her son. Then, I observed the rippling effects of this disease, as her son, too, became addicted. For me, this is a story of bearing witness, of gaining empathy and compassion, of taking action and reaching beyond the personal to affect change in my community.
There will be some who contribute directly to the creation of the panels through their written expressions. Without their words, these would simply be strips of fabric void of meaning. And there will be some who participate through observation, their reactions becoming a part of what they carry with them beyond the woven panels of this installation, sharing the message with others.
~ Lisa Kelley, artist