3 Countries, 2 Beaches and 5 Cities

IMG_2627Lester, Alemayehu and I went on an exciting tour of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia over the Chinese New Year Holiday. The best document of the trip is on Facebook, click on the albums.

We have been traveling around Asia for 5 years now, and this last trip was our most ambitious yet. From Hangzhou, China to Malaysia. First Kuala Lumpur, then Pangkor Island and Melaka, We could use one word to describe Malaysia… SWEEEEEET! We then took a bus to Singapore, and Lester had quite a harrowing experience at the border. Alemayehu and I with our American passports were allowed in without question, but no-one had heard of Guyana, and after learning where it was, they apparently could not figure out why he would want to travel all the way to Singapore. We were shocked and disappointed at this treatment, especially as it was Lester’s second time in the country. He represented Guyana at an international Commonwealth Youth Parliament event. After 3 nights in Singapore at the home of my friend and teacher Cai Qing, we finally moved onto Indonesia. It had been a lifelong dream of mine to visit Indonesia and learn more about batik. In Yogyakarta, I spent a day creating my own batik design with some professional batik artists. We then flew to Bali and spent a few thrilling days on the beach there. Alemayehu learned to swim in the pool of the hostel! He had been on the brink of swimming by himself after swimming in the pool of our last apartment and on our last trip to the Philippines. We finally coaxed him into taking the plunge! Our last stop was Jakarta where we did some shopping for gifts.

It was an amazing trip, and we learned a lot about Asia, this sort post really does not do it justice at ALL. If anyone would like more details, let me know.

My Third Marriage

Objects Used in the Project
Recent Performance Projects Objects
Staging The Other Half 01
Staging The Other Half 02
Staging The Other Half 03
Staging The Other Half 04
Staging The Other Half 05
Take a Picture With the Bride 01
Take a Picture With the Bride 02
Happy Halloween Grrrr!

Third time’s a charm they say, and I wholeheartedly agree. Although I’ve been married 3 times  I still have the same husband. Our first wedding was in Ethiopia during the new millennium celebration in September 2007, the beginning of the year 2000 according to the ancient Ethiopian calendar. We were married again that same year in New York, the most legal, even if less festive celebration. Our marriage is a happy and fruitful one. So why get married again?

My third marriage was not to Lester. I committed my life in a formal way to the activity that has been the driving force of my life for as long as I can remember. Creating Art. In the performance piece “The Other Half” I wore a wedding dress to show my commitment to the solemn thank-less duty of producing artwork.

The dress I wore is store bought off the rack in China, but very special. During the performance while wearing the dress, I asked the audience to go underneath my shirt to see what makes this ordinary dress  really unique. Underneath is a collection of objects and materials arranged to tell a story of my recent journey as an artist. The audience is invited to spend time and explore all the nooks and crannies, take what they can remove , and photograph themselves with me from my most intimate side.

I guess the reason I was thinking about wedding dresses is because Lester and I have started an online store selling dresses for brides, bridesmaids, flower girls and mothers, all made to their size. Check it out. Tell your friends and their friends. You could even become an agent and make some money. Click on the link to visit the site: www.weddingdressforyou.com.

 

Shanghai Biennial 3 Perspectives

China Museum of Modern Art


We were so happy to met you and invite you along with us on our trip.Curator — Artist — Audience

Congratulations to the organizers and participants of the 9th Shanghai Biennale! It was a tremendous effort lead by the great talent Qiu Zhijie. It was such a pleasure to be a part of the amazing team that coordinated the Biennial. I certainly learned a lot about what it takes to put together this kind of show.

For the Curators a massive amount of research to find artists and funding. They must also coordinate with the museum and the artist. Dealing with all the politics on a personal level one moment and an international level the next. Then, they must carefully consider the very physical logistics of the space and installation of the work at a moment “art” can literally include anything. Not an easy task, but what could be more exciting?!!!

The Artists have to deal with being in a foreign place with tremendous restrictions on their time and often their resources. I am sure the shift of place affects their psyche, but they should at the same time produce their work, re-created their idea in a clear defined way.

The Audience has the easiest, but possibly most important role. assimilating the work. I went to Shanghai on three occasions, and on each trip I identified with each separate role. Each role has it’s own set of challenges. I was neither a curator or an artist, and on my final trip I was there with my family. I therefore identify most with the audience role. The experience of the audience is so crucial. I really wish I had been able to see more of the show, but my 3 day trip was simply not enough time to visit the huge set of exhibits. Art takes time to be absorbed.

Considering the challenges and the vast scale of the project, I have more respect than ever for the efforts of Qiu Zhijie and his team.

For more detail please visit the biennial website: http://www.shanghaibiennale.org/en

 

Happy 5th Year Anniversary!

Paul Family Portrait
The Shuren College Crew
Paul Family Portrait
Paul Family Portrait
Mayehu Makes Friends
Mayehu Makes Friends
Male Bonding
Paul Family Portrait
Paul Family Portrait

 

I am so proud to be a part of this family! Five years of marriage but we are still going strong. There have been some ups and downs but Lester’s drive and determination is my inspiration. I honor and respect his hard work and devotion to our son. Lester, you are the best thing that has ever happened in my live, right after giving birth to you son. Alemayehu, everyday we watch you learn, laugh and grow. Keep on striving for the best. It is a Paul family tradition!

Boracay,Philippines (菲律宾)


Lester and I are sitting in our hotel room porch, enjoying luxuries banned in China like facebook and cable TV. (Ok Vincient, our trusted Chinese friend pointed out that, technically cable TV is not banned in China…) It’s just like Barbados here, the weather, the beach, the laid back culture. Some would even say the beach itself is better than Barbados and they may have a good point, except for the streams of tourists everywhere, and hundreds of locals trying to sell you everything … food, massages, clothes, boat rides, island tours… Everyday at least 40 people ask us to buy something. We realized that we haven’t learned how to say hello in Filipino, I think it might be, “Hi Mam… Hi Sir…massage?”

But, the beach makes it all worth it. The beach, the weather and the laid back culture. I had a wish to go to the beach. My husband is a good man, he heard me and made my wish come true. As I walk past all the bags, key chains and trinkets that say Boracay, if I squint my eyes it looks like they say Barbados. Except we don’t have that many things to buy on the beach.

The tourist here are from all over the world, lots of Chinese, Koreans and Japanese as well as people from other places in Philippines. Then thre are Europeans, Australians and Americans. Not so many blacks though. The three of as are still too much of a spectacle to be totally comfortable. It’s really hard to get used to the stares and giggles. Yes we are black. No I am a woman. Look again, and you cannot deny that I am beautiful.

I hope you like the pictures, we worked hard on them. We want to remember how nice it was here, and make the memories last a lifetime, cause there are too many wonderful places to visit in Asia, so although we love you, changes are we won’t be coming back to Boracay Island.

We’ve got one more delicious day… but here is a sample of the pics. For more, check out my google album, formerly picasa, now on google plus!

Love Bug

Hope you can watch this fun animation that Alemayehu found on Tudou.com. I also have some videos posted there.

Love Bug

http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/e81G6Dx-PzY/

Tudou is the Chinese YouTube. Don’t let the Chinese characters scare you off. We just watched Toy Story 4. Try a search for the movie or T.V. series you prefer and you just might get lucky. Anyway this animation that Mayehu found is short and funny, and loads quickly. A young researcher in the making!