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After the recent bombings in Madrid, I felt compelled to create a work that extends regret for the loss of life as well as protests the largest terrorist attack since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. The work, entitled "Paz" (Spanish for "peace"), is an "interactive" painting that showed in a group exhibit that coincided with the University of Georgia CURO Symposium, April 12th - 14th.

In memorial to the random individuals that were victims of the bombings, visitors may apply a white hand print to an extended painting of the Spanish flag (16 feet long / 3 feet wide). I developed the painting's concept after reviewing Associated Press photography in the aftermath of the attacks on March 11. The photographs depicted an iconology of white painted hands, which symbolizes peaceful protest in Spanish culture.

The work is significant because it requires individual visitors to reach out and attach a mark to the painting that represents a sorrow for the loss of life. After the final show I intend to donate the painting to an Embassy of Spain, in the United States, or an Embassy of the United States, in Spain, in hope that it edifies Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's statement, "America is with you. We stand in front of you, in back of you, to your left and to your right. We grieve with the families who bear so much sorrow. And we grieve for their loved ones whose lives have been so unjustly cut short."

I think that it speaks volumes for individual people to offer support in this nature. This is akin to gathering flowers in memorium but for someone to make a decision to get a bit dirty to show a mourning gesture is powerful. The victims of this terrorist attack were innocent, essentially faceless, individuals. For other individuals, also essentially faceless, to mourn these people is moving; the world should see this come out of America; Spain should see this come out of America.

© KITHUGHES, 2004. /// info@tagging.us /// punk@uga.edu