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Posts Tagged ‘Ambassador Scott DeLisi’

Soarway Poster -Engage NepalI don’t want to take much of your time on this holiday but I do want to remind you that there is one week left  to donate (and, yes, possibly win!) to the Soarway Foundation and their efforts to assist Nepal in recovering from last year’s big earthquake.

Part of this also aids in helping Nepal  build up its preparedness for future earthquakes, which was the Soarway Foundation’s original mission.  You see, this organization was founded by Michael Kobold  ( watchmaker, filmmaker, author and explorer -check out his extraordinary life here) only weeks before the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit last April.  Nepal sits on two shifting tectonic plates and has been in the cross-hairs for a huge earthquake for many years.  And undoubtedly many more.

Scott DeLisi, from his years as the US Ambassador to Nepal, knew that the country was in extreme danger from such an event and did not have the resources to react  in time of need.  He signed on as the head of Soarway with the hope of reinforcing its weak disaster response infrastructure.  This is a country that only had 24 firetrucks to cover a huge area of extremely rugged land.

The Kathmandu Valley only had one firetruck serving it.  One of the first projects of the Soarway Foundation was an expedition delivering several firetrucks to Nepal.

That isn’t as easy as it sounds.  The trucks must be driven through high and rough Himalayan roads in order to find their home in Nepal.  It’s this same remote ruggedness that make any rescue and recovery there such a hard business.

But the mission for preparedness became one of recovery as the earthquake hit in late April of 2015.  The Soarway Foundation realized there was so much devastation that no one group could rebuild the hundreds of thousands of homes or the thousands of schools destroyed.  They understood that the most effective manner of bringing aid was in partnering with local groups who knew the terrain and the immediate needs of the local people.  This has led them to their partnerships with groups that battle human trafficking, that try to find family homes for the huge number of orphans and that try to rebuild permanent housing for the tens of thousands still living in tents.

You could win this painting valued at $5000!

You could win this painting valued at $5000!

There’s a huge need in Nepal and this is but a small step in helping that country.  I don’t have the resources to help in a very large way but I thought that maybe we could raise some much needed money through an event where many small donations could grow into something more.  So, using the only asset at my disposal, my work, I put up a larger painting so that those donating could possibly win by donating.  Plus, they get a signed poster and their donation is tax deductible.

Have a good Memorial Day and please consider reaching out and giving a hand to those who really need it.

 

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GC Myers- Into the PatternThis painting, Into the Pattern, is featured prominently in my upcoming show at the Principle Gallery (opening June 3)and was featured in an earlier blog entry a few months back.  I thought I’d take a few moments this morning to revisit this painting as it is also featured on a poster for the Soarway Foundation.

As you probably know from recent posts, I am currently partnered with this organization in a fundraising effort to aid them in their mission to help the people of Nepal in the aftermath of last year’s earthquakes which devastated this peaceful and isolated nation.  The foundation was started and headed by retired US Ambassador to Nepal Scott DeLisi who saw that there was a real need for quick and specific assistance for the local organizations in Nepal who were on the front lines in battling the poverty, loss of facilities and homes and the rise of human trafficking that took place in the huge void created after the earthquake.  Feeding off the affection for the people of Nepal he gained while living there, Scott and wife, Leija, have turned what should have been a  comfortable retirement into a seemingly all consuming, full-time effort to complete their mission to bring aid to Nepal.

It’s a daunting task, especially in a world that seems to unleash a new tragedy every other day.  But I would like to think we are a people of compassion and that we see that we are connected with the struggles of people a world away in the shadow of the Himalayas. It’s this connection, this unity with all the world, that I feel is a central theme in my work, especially in this upcoming show.  We are all part of a larger pattern and when one part of the pattern is damaged, the whole of it suffers.

Prayer flags fly over the village of Khunde.

Prayer flags fly over the village of Khunde.

I see this connection to a larger pattern in this particular painting.  It was chosen for the poster for this reason and also because the pattern and colors of the spiral forms in the sky remind me of the Buddhist prayer flags that are often seen flying over Nepal.  The flags come in five colors–blue, white, red, green and yellow– symbolizing the five elements of sky, wind, water, fire and earth.  When flown they become symbolic prayers that with the help of the wind spread peace, compassion, strength and wisdom over the surrounding landscape.

I think we could all use a few more prayer flags.

So, I ask with all seriousness that you consider making a small donation to this Soarway Foundation effort-  part of the pattern is damaged and needs to be repaired.  You might think your small effort doesn’t matter but you’re wrong– it takes many to help many.

You can help and I am sincerely and outright asking for your assistance in this effort.

And who knows? You might win the painting being offered.  I’m looking at it at this very moment here in the studio– it’s a large and dramatic piece that speaks to the same themes as Into the Pattern.  Plus you get the poster below.

So, please click here to visit the event page.

Soarway Poster -Engage Nepal

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GC Myers- Enraptured sm a

Help Nepal and Win This Painting!

This time it’s for real!  All the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted and the site is ready to go after a premature launch this past weekend.

I’m talking about the Soarway Foundation and the initial event in their Artists Engaging Nepal  campaign to raise funds that will provide vital assistance to the people of Nepal who are still struggling in the aftermath of last year’s devastating earthquakes.  There will be a number of events to follow involving online auctions, raffles and gallery galas that will feature artwork from artists in Nepal, Uganda and North America but  this is the first one out of the gate.

And I think it’s a pretty darn good way to kick things off.

We are giving away the piece of mine shown above, Enraptured, a 30″ by 40″ painting on canvas valued at $5000, to a donor who will be selected at the conclusion of this promotion, which ends June 6 at 11:59:59 AM EST.

A donation of $25 earns one (1) entry into the drawing for this painting, $50 earns two (2) entries and $100 earns five (5) chances to win.  And to give you a little more incentive to reach out, each donor of $25 or more will receive a signed commemorative poster like the one shown at the bottom.  To donate and enter, click here.

Please take a moment to consider helping the Soarway Foundation help the people of Nepal.  I outlined many of vital things they are doing in my earlier post and I can vouch that their mission, spearheaded by former US Ambassador to Nepal Scott DeLisi and his wife, Leija,  is one that is based on true compassion and love for the people of Nepal.  Anything you can spare will be of great help in this effort.

So, you have less than two weeks to act on this.  And you will most likely have a pretty good chance  of winning as the odds are based on the number of entries we receive.  And even if you can’t donate, please pass this on to your friends and family.  We want as much as exposure and awareness for this mission as we can muster.

You can get more info, donate and enter by clicking here.

 

Soarway Poster -Engage Nepal

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Soarway Poster -Engage NepalIt’s been a year since massive earthquakes rocked the country of Nepal in April and May of 2015.  It brought extreme devastation to this peaceful and isolated nation high in the Himalayan Mountains, destroying huge numbers of homes, much of the infrastructure and leaving thousands of its citizens struggling to get by as the mountain tourism that sustained it ground to a halt.  The country’s isolated and rugged mountain location made all support efforts even more difficult than your typical disaster response.  It also made Nepal’s suffering easy to forget– out of sight, out of mind.

In the past year, very little has been done to restore Nepal and it’s misery continues.  Many of its citizens continue to live in tents, the same ones that sheltered them from the last harsh Himalayan winter.  Kids were especially hit hard.  There is a huge number of orphaned children who are at risk of being placed institutionally– which is not a pretty sight in the context of a poor nation such as Nepal.  Many. many schools were destroyed and have yet to be rebuilt or replaced, leaving these same children without a continuing education.

Human trafficking has reared its ugly head here as well.  Many young women in devastated areas are lured with the promise of high wages for domestic work outside the country.  Once there, they find themselves held captive, often as sexual slaves.  But many feel they have no other option as the tourism supported by expeditions to the mountains have been very, very slow in coming back leaving many in Nepal without incomes and in dire poverty.  It’s a terrible scenario to even consider.

I have become involved with the Soarway Foundation which was formed this past year by former US Ambassador to Nepal Scott DeLisi and his wife, Leija. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds that will get quickly into the hands of people and organizations that can have an immediate impact.

They are partnering with a number of local groups, one that is aiming to provide over a thousand transitional homes before this next winter as well as rebuild schools in the hardest hit areas.  They are working with Maiti Nepal, an organization founded and led by Anuradha Koirala, the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year, that actively fights against human trafficking in Nepal.  They are working with groups that aim to place orphaned children with extended families instead of the underwhelming institutional orphanages of Nepal.

This has become a labor of love for Scott and Leija.  It would have been easy for them to shift into an easy retirement after Scott’s lifetime of service with the foreign service, most recently as our ambassador to Nepal then Uganda.  But their empathy and concern for the people of Nepal who they came to love during their time there has made this a more than full-time effort for them as they try to help in any way possible.  They are going non-stop in trying to raise funds and schedule events to raise awareness of the need for help in Nepal and engage others in the battle.

They have an upcoming fundraiser in NYC  with Anuradha Koirala to raise funds for Maiti Nepal and have started organizing Wounded Heroes Treks which consists of wounded military vets visiting and climbing the Himalayan Mountains in an effort to kickstart the lagging economy. They also have organized artists from both Nepal and Uganda and here in the USA in an effort consisting of online auctions, gallery galas and the thing I am here today to put forward.

I am partnering with them on an effort called Engage Nepal.   It is a fundraising effort that will hopefully provide sufficient funds to make a difference in Nepal’s recovery.  I am asking you to visit their page at the fundraising site Crowdrise and donate today.  But for your efforts, we wish to reward you in some small way.  For every donation of $25 and above, you will receive a signed poster like the one shown at the top of this blog.  The painting used was chosen because the whorls in the sky remind me of the Buddhist prayer flags one might see throughout Nepal.

And there’s more: A donation enters you in a drawing to win the painting shown below, Enraptured.  It is a large painting, 30″ by 40″ on canvas whose intertwined trees represent for me the strength of combined efforts in weathering the storms of this world.  It is valued at $5000.  For a $25 donation you get one entry into the drawing + a poster, for $50 you get two entries+ a poster and for $100 you get five (5)  entries + a poster.

This effort was scheduled to kick off tomorrow but it has opened this morning so you can be one of the very first to check it out  now by clicking here.  This event with the drawing and poster is scheduled to end in approximately two weeks so please take a moment to look and act.  Give if you can and if not, please share this with your friends.  We are seeking to raise as much awareness as possible.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.

GC Myers-Enraptured - Engage Nepal

 

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GC Myers- Elemental Being smYesterday was a day to crash after a somewhat  hectic week, at least by my standards.  It was a week filled with hurried preparation, a lot of driving, some new experiences , meeting new (and old) friends and far more talking than I am used to.  By the time I finally got to stop yesterday afternoon, I laid down on the floor of my studio next to Hobie, my loving studio cat who had her nose slightly bent out of joint by my absences in the past week, and closed my eyes and quickly fell to sleep to the rhythms of Hobie’s incredibly loud purr of satisfaction.  It was the most satisfying little nap I had taken in some time.

The Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery on Sunday started slowly with a smaller group at its beginning that grew and grew as the time passed until the space was crowded.  That’s always nice because it seems that when the group is larger people are more liable to ask questions.  They are almost a little more shy when it is a smaller group and a larger group gives them cover.  But it ended up being a good talk that I think was entertaining and informative with a nice back and forth flow between us.

I know that I enjoyed myself especially when it was time to give away a few things at the end of the talk.  That’s always a fun time for the audience as well as myself.  It sounds goofy and even a little cheesy but I really enjoy being able to do this at my talks.  I’ve said this before but it’s a small token compared to everything that I have received from doing this.  Plus it’s just great to see the faces of people when they get even a small gift.

It was especially satisfying when two small girls, each no more than 9 or 10 I am sure,  each took home something on Sunday.  They were there with their dad and he told me that they had asked to come to the talk.  The family had two of my paintings, one a large Red Tree and another from the Archaeology series, and the girls love them.  One had brought a drawing she had made copying the composition of their Red Tree painting and the other, a lovely small drawing of leaves.  They asked me to sign them for them and I can’t even begin to tell you how much that means to me, how much it moves and amazes me even now as I sit here.

Leija and Scott DeLisi with me Principle Gallery Talk 2015

Leija and Scott DeLisi with me Principle Gallery Talk 2015

Also, another satisfying moment came when I looked over and  saw Ambassador Scott DeLisi and his wife, Leija, slide into two seats.  I was very surprised since only days before Scott was still in Uganda  in his final days as our Ambassador to that nation before taking retirement from a long and distinguished career in our foreign service, serving as our Ambassador to Eritrea, Nepal and Uganda along with prior posts around the globe.  We have had a mutual admiration– they for my painting and me for Scott’s admirable work abroad and for Leija’s wonderful candor– for some time but had never been able to cross paths–I don’t get to Kampala on a regular basis.  So to finally meet them in person  was just great and I felt like I had known them for many, many years.

I am looking forward to seeing Scott’s new role in retirement as he will continue working in the private sector for efforts to improve the lives of people around the world.  All the best to you, Ambassador DeLisi.  Many thanks to Leija and you  for taking the time to stop in on Sunday.

There are a lot more moments and stories to tell from that day as well as my workshop experience of a few days earlier but I am going to wrap this up.  It was  a great week, one that had way more validation than any one more person should get in that time frame.  I am going to let it all soak in for a while then get back to work, refreshed by the kindness of others.

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Rwenzori Founders, UgandaWhen a couple of my paintings headed off to Uganda with Ambassador Scott DeLisi to hang at the US Embassy in Kampala, I began to follow the news that the Ambassador would forward from that African nation.  The stories he posts portray a country that is moving forward with an optimistic attitude.  There are stories of young entrepreneurs, scholars and artists that give reason for this attitude.  A recent post spoke of  the Rwenzori Art Centre Sculpture Gallery, nestled in the foothills of the  Rwenzori Mountains, the fabled Mountains of the Moon in northern Uganda.

The rural Rwenzori Art Centre is home to Rwenzori Founders, a world -class foundry that casts bronzes,  which opened several years ago.  The whole project was supported by the UK charity, the Rwenzori Sculpture Foundation, which is the brainchild of the owner of Pangolin Editions, the largest artist foundry in Europe which was started by a Ugandan, Rungwe Kingdom.  The facility’s design has won awards for its environmental sensitivity.

As fascinating as this all is, it is the story of one of the artists there,  Peter Oloya , that really interests me.  He hails from northern Uganda, an area that has been ravaged in the past by rebel armies.  At the age of 11, Peter was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and forced into action as a child soldier.  It was kill or be killed.  After a year and eight months, Peter escaped after being wounded during a battle.

Peter Oloya - HeadHe made his way to Kampala and lived on the streets, earning money by using his talent at carving curios  to pay for his school and university fees where he pursued an education in art and sculpture.  His work served him as a form of therapy to move past the horrors he had witnessed  and soon his obvious talent garnered much notice.  He has won  numerous commissions for his sculptures in recent years, such as Crane (shown at the bottom of this post) which was given to Queen Elizabeth as a gift from the Ugandan people, and his work is in great demand.  Wanting to share his good fortune, he has set up a charity to help other boy soldiers and abducted girls to heal themselves through drawing and sculpture.

It’s a great story of the redemptive and healing power of art.  It is also evidence that the urge to create will always overcome obstacles of all sorts.  Too many of us, myself included, all too often find excuses for not doing something.  I don’t have the right tools. I don’t have enough time or the time is just not right.  I am too distracted by other things.  Excuses of all sorts.  But Peter used whatever he had at hand to release what was trapped within him to make way for better things.

The next time I start whining about anything, all I have to do is think of Peter Oloya and I will shut up and be grateful for the safety and security of my own life.

Peter Oloya-Crowned Crane

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