4th of July! The beginning of American Expressions 2016 tour was accompanied by fireworks and fanfare. Starting in Birmingham, Alabama provided a great occasion to celebrate our freedom and independence. AE visited Vulcan Park and was well received by visitors. Everyone was eager to expression their positive feelings about our country, of course, because you shouldn't talk shit on someone's birthday, it's just not proper. Many expressions invoked God to continue blessing us. Makes me curious if our faith shouldn't be placed in our abilities to compromise & coexist versus the higher power who is originally decreed as "separate" from our state.
Overall the crux of this project was well reflected in the 4th of July celebration. It was a spectrum of people all engaged in the freedom we cherish. I met families on vacation, enjoying our freedom of movement throughout our nation. A group of bikers who came along and added some colorful & pointed commentary to the flag. And there was Nick, who is from India, via Texas. He came to Birmingham and owns a convenience store off 1st Ave North. His gratitude for being in America was evident by his wide smile and eagerness to share his story. As we became friends, listening to the tale of each other's lives, I confided that I was now "homeless" since I was touring this project. Nick may have gotten my joke, but regardless, he quickly offered up a place to stay at his store. It was a really kind and thoughtful gesture not because he believes in my project, but he really believes in America. He's been given an opportunity and he wanted to "pay it forward". I hope this project inspires many people, like Nick, to take stock of all the great opportunities we have and invest in the future of their communities and this great country.
Today I departed my long time home for idealistic adventure. For the next 4 months I'll be listening to American's gripes, fears, hopes, and loves of our country. Many believe we are at a crossroads and I too see our future in polarized prediction: are we coming together or coming apart? My artistic aspirations for this journey are to simply put our collective existence into the largest context possible. To publicly demonstrate our differences matter less than our communal respect for one another. I hope our ability as free citizens to come together IS more important than our selfish desires to come apart. And to recognize the precarious tipping point we maybe upon. As my friend April succinctly put it, "RESPECT EXISTENCE or EXPECT RESISTANCE"....