welcome : unwelcome

March 4, 2017

Press release for “Rise Up! Art as Action” by San Francisco Arts Education Project:

“Artists express alarm about our nation’s new directions in the San Francisco Arts Education Project’s latest exhibition designed to interact with young viewers. Each of the participating artists has a singular voice, a point of view and a medium with which to express themselves as they respond to the state of our nation. Each artist also recognizes that being part of this exhibition for this particular organization means they are speaking directly to school-age children, ages 5-17, through their work and so have created prompts and ideas for involving the SFArtsEd student audience to respond to the work. In this way, the visitors will be invited to be part of the conversation and take action.”

“welcome || unwelcome” is a project that addresses the social, political, and emotional impact of the presidential election on our terms. So many of us are frustrated, angry, distressed, frightened and even energized to take action as a result of the current administration’s policies that are, in my opinion, often inhumane and unconstitutional.

This project is a kind of exercise in setting boundaries towards things that are unwelcome, unfair, or hurtful and also as a means to identify qualities that encourage the welcoming of peace, joy, and freedom.

Think of the doors near theĀ  mats as the doors to our world, our country, our communities and our lives. “welcome || unwelcome” is a project that calls for your voices, your choices, and your participation as my fellow artistic collaborators because “we, (are)the (fabulous) people.”

Write and draw your thoughts about what you want to support and celebrate and that which you will not tolerate. Your responses can be anything that is important to you, from the personal to the more politically charged.

I’ve rolled out the welcome mat to my family in India, soggy doggies in the rain, women’s rights, and even an endangered chipmunk or two. I’ve also been known to slam doors shut to anything mean or scary. I’ve contributed my own responses for “welcome || unwelcome.” Now I welcome you to fill up those doors with your thoughts!

Prompts for children:

Please respond to both questions on separate cards.

1) What do you welcome into your country, your community, and your life?

2) What do you unwelcome in your country, your community, and your life?

Use the markers to write and/ or draw your responses on the cards. Get creative and experiment with various text sizes and styles. Use the scissors to cut the cards into shapes and symbols.

After you’ve finished both cards, (one for ‘welcome’ and one for ‘unwelcome,’) tape the cards on the door above the appropriate mat.

Copyright Prajakti Jayavant, 2017