Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

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Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was born on December 25, 1995. He’s been sentenced to death for protesting the tyrannical Saudi Arabian government at the age of 16. He was 17 at the time of his arrest. His confession was obtained by way of torture and his trials were secretive and unfairly conducted, as he was not allowed his rightful representation. At any moment he could be beheaded. His head will then be reattached, and his lifeless body will be publicly crucified for three days. *** if you’re super curious about what this looks like, there are some very graphic photos available online. Absolute barbarism. I don’t recommend curiosity. ***

Ali is by no means the only young person facing a barbaric sentence. There are at least three others facing similar sentences.

There are specific rights for child detainees which are outlined by the United Nations Human Rights Council, who, in very poor taste, welcomed Saudi Arabia-a country where beheading, crucifixion, stoning, amputation, and lashings are commonplace punishments-as chairman! The Saudi Arabian government who is in direct violation of international law. It is very bizarre indeed, that the OHCHR should publish this information, given the Saudi appointment to the council.

The Saudi Arabian government is also funding ISIS

And yet, the United States of America insists on remaining allied with this terrifying country, who issued a statement threatening social media users with the death penalty for speaking out against the atrocities they commit against their own citizens… basically saying, “fuck you, we kill who we want!”

Is this a governmental body that should be sitting at the helm of a human rights council?

Hell. No.

I urge you to take an interest in this case. They want your ignorance, your apathy… please don’t give it to them. Think about the message that it will send to other tyrants if you choose not to speak up. One life matters. All life matters.

I urge you to look at those eyes and see the face of your own child, your brother, nephew, friend. When I look at him, I see my sweet brothers, and I see that this could be either of them. Ali could be every one of us.

I painted this in an effort to help the campaign to save Ali’s life.

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It’s not my best work, but I had to do it in a hurry. It’s heading to a gallery in NYC whose owner is very sympathetic to Ali’s plight. This is so intimidating for me. New York knows the art world. I don’t. But it doesn’t matter. Nor does my pride or vanity.

Please take a moment to sign the petition urging the Obama administration to negotiate the release of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, and then share it. 

#AliMohammedAlNimr #SaveNimr #AliAlNimr #Ali_AlNimr #OpNimr

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Frida

diego-y-frida-en-detroit-1933-8hFor my 36th birthday, my family took me to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see the Frida & Diego in Detroit exhibit. I’m not a huge fan of Diego Rivera, though I certainly do appreciate his work. Rivera Court is nothing short of mind blowing, if only looking at the scale of it, not to mention the incredible skill. But Diego simply isn’t my favorite. He isn’t Frida.

Little Frida and I are not impressed.

Little Frida and I are not impressed.

I don’t think I could ever keep it secret how much I adore Frida Kahlo. Being given the opportunity to see her work was like spending time with her. I could feel her presence in the room with me, speaking to me personally, inviting me in. The tough part was sharing her with so many other people when I really just wanted to be alone with her for a while… to feel her more intimately.

In lieu of this, I still connected with her. The presence of other humans did not detract from her beauty, or her voice… And, for a few moments, there was a special bond that I experienced with the other women there. No one spoke of it, but it was very loud, and it all came about because of one little painting.

Henry Ford Hospital

Henry Ford Hospital, Frida Kahlo

It was so interesting to watch and to participate in this… through the whole exhibit, people dodged eye contact, avoided standing too close to each other, acted as though the many others in the room did not exist. And yet, where this painting was concerned, the women couldn’t get close enough. At all times, it seemed that we packed in like sardines. It was okay to be too close, to have our shoulders touching, to lean in to the point where your face was only inches from a perfect stranger’s face. Here the closeness to others… more specifically to other women… felt necessary. Though others bustled behind us, casually glancing over our shoulders, or perhaps passing up the opportunity to look at this very small, yet incredibly powerful work — those who did look, did so in silence, and lingered there.

Frida & Diego

My own love affair with Frida began more than 10 years ago, but until this weekend my connection felt a little lacking. There was always a desire to know her better. I have read books; I have been to Mexico (though not to her home… that is a huge dream of mine that I mean to fulfill!!!); I have been in awe of her life since I became aware of it; and my family has a connection to her through Diego Rivera. A Rivera print from the 30’s or 40’s has hung in my father’s childhood home since he was a boy. The story goes that during a vacation to Mexico, my grandfather (1896-1971) encountered Rivera and struck up a conversation. The two hit it off and the painter gave him a print. Both of my grandparents are long buried, so whether or not this is true will never be known, but I choose to believe it is. I like let my imagination carry the encounter, thinking that perhaps Frida was there. That, perhaps they met and shook hands and that moment was passed through my bloodline. In this way, I can curl up with her like an old friend–one of those with whom you feel such a strong kinship that you actually miss them in a physical sense, and long for your next encounter because you know that you will experience wholeness for a time. I feel this bond with Frida. Though her body perished long ago, her spirit still moves here. She is, in the very best sense of the word, immortal. May we all pour as much of ourselves into life as she did.

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Found somewhere on tumblr… please let me use it!!

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PS — As I walked the Frida exhibit, one of my own paintings sold!