Day 197 Diversions Ahead

June 24, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th years where I write and illustrate a blog on each day’s gift.)

Artist Sharon Zarambo in her studio with totems on either side.
Today when I walked into Sharon Zarambo’s Bellozar Studio in rural Etlan, Virginia, I experienced a vibrancy of spirit and color. This artist creates jackets, bags, pillows, dolls and wall art. But the most striking pieces are her totems. 

Totems traditionally represent an idea, spirit beings and symbols for groups such as a family or a tribe. Sharon’s totems, with names such as “Nothing is Revealed” and “Diversions Ahead,”  call out to the human tribe. The ideas that her totems represent vary, as do the visceral narratives of space, texture, color and myths, depending on the individual filters of those who see her art. 

I am particularly drawn to the paradox of how her art fluctuates between balance and imbalance within an individual piece--the balance as an initial response and then imbalance as I study the narrative. Visually I am drawn to the small objects that frame one totem—buttons, beads, stones, Scrabble tiles, shells and other found objects. There is a sense of thoughtful balance in their arrangement but then I am thrown off balance when I look closely at some tiny shells with “eyes” and “mouths” that communicate subtle expression changes. In much of her work, mouths and eyes pull me in, some looking back at me and some looking askew.  The objects and words within the frame make me pause: “POLITE NOTICE NO PARKING,”   “destination,” “ADMIT ONE,” and “Ask.” The longer I look, the more I understand that the experience is a meditation. 

I could have spent many hours meditating on each piece.   

My gift today is a totem meditation.
More about Sharon Zarambo:

You can find links to my other posts on this project here:

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