Graft Art in Belize

I have big dreams for Graft Art.  One dream is that it would take the form of traveling shows. Shows would happen in different cities, but always in a home. I might rent a place for the duration of an exhibition and have local artists come in and create site specific work in the dwelling.  This would create a very niche type show tied specifically to that area thus creating a one time event, unable to be replicated elsewhere. Every place has its unique flavor and feel that can only be known by being in that place.

A few weeks ago I escaped the flavor and feel of NYC and found myself with friends and family on an island in Belize. Before the trip I had hopes (not plans yet) of doing a graft art piece at the house we would call home for the next nine days. I saw a few pictures of the place with its vibrantly painted tiles, bright orange walls, sea-foam colored furniture, and dark wood beams. I was eager to get there to live in the space and see what would inspire me. Next thing I knew a week had gone by and I had spent little time with the actual structure and furnishings of what made up the house. But I was most definitely present in this place. I realized that the unique features of this house were far more than anything tangible. The house is situated a mere stone's throw from the ocean, sits on sand, and is surrounded by palm trees. One of the most noticeable aspects is the wind. The breeze is constant and very strong, but along with the humid island heat, it is the perfect coupling for creating the flavor of Belize. Although these natural elements can be felt anywhere in the world, there is a stark difference in each place. The unique pairing of "sea grass" smell (beached seaweed) and a wind that carries bits of sand is a far cry from the smell of exhaust as a noisy subway train races bringing a gust of hot air. In Belize, the heat, humidity and wind are undeniably around you day and night. You hear it, you feel it, it blows your towel off the ground and makes the ice in your drink melt in a few seconds.

So for this piece, I froze a few towels and took them outside. Ordinarily a towel would change shape and move as free as the wind, but after being soaked in water and a few hours in the freezer, the towels became stiff, immovable by even that Belizean wind. Yet with such heat, the towels didn't last. Their cold stiff state crumbled within seconds. While invisible, the wind and heat are some of the most present aspects of that house and the experience of living in Belize.