Borderless Art – the life of an art project
November 14, 2019
The personal project dedicated to the legendary Titanic ship and its passengers was born from a personal story of the artist and it grew over the years into a cultural and educational project, bringing together several nations from around the world.
How is an art project born and how does it develop from a dream, a vision into a concept and project? And how does it shape others or take up other forms? These are questions that can provide insights into an artist’s world and that intrigue many people when thinking about art.
It is easy to think about art projects as something complex, however they all have one thing in common: they are born from a moment of idea, or phase of life, a desire to express a deep thought, feeling, gratitude or to remind others of our human existence through a visual experience.
Having had life experiences in different parts of the world, the artist Dodo Newman was inspired to dedicate an art project to her Holocaust survivor grandmother, who has been her personal idol. She has always been fascinated by human stories that showed how connected we are and how, by learning from the past we can make our present better.
Growing up with an important teaching from her grandmother - to never give up on dreams and staying true to them - the artist Newman wanted to focus on these human values through the individual stories, life paths and destinies that came together on the legendary Titanic ship.
The vision came from an idea to remind others that we are all connected through our human values. It was then combined with the technique of plexiglas and resin based pigments.
The legendary Titanic ship was also approaching its 100th Anniversary, coinciding with the celebration of Newman’s grandmother, who was also to be 100 years old.
The vision this way further materialized. Each art piece, created on plexiglas with crystals, resembling the ice on the ocean and the cold night when the Titanic sank, was dedicated to an individual human story from the passengers of the Titanic.
The aesthetic aspect of the art project was in itself unique with hundreds of transparent surfaces giving back a magical effect: liquid crystal against a background of swirling oceanic blues, reflecting the play of light on icy water. Each one of them different, like drops in the ocean, representing each a Soul that either survived or died that night. Nevertheless, they were each connected in their humanness, their desires, hopes and faiths. They shared that night the tragedy, just as so many people do all over the world who are seeking to rebuild their lives elsewhere than their homes.
What really made the art project different than any other was not the artworks themselves - although there were hundreds of them, created each by focusing on beauty and technique at the same time - but the way it linked an event in the past to many meaningful thoughts and emotions that are there in our present. The past was linked to our present also by a personal remembrance of the artist herself.
The project reminds us of our lives as human beings first of all, whereby we are all “rowing in one boat”. It also reflects upon the issues of the power of nature, life and death, our desire to find happiness as a basic right and connectedness.
The Titanic ship was an incredible place in 1912, which brought together many cultures from various parts of the world, mainly in the name of hope and new life.
They came from every walk of life: personnel from the ship, the rich and famous, professionals, the poor, and all those who were seeking a new life. Friends, families and strangers alike, they were to be linked in collective memory forever. During Newman’s research works, she discovered captivating human stories among the Titanic passengers related to over 43 nations.
The extraordinary Titanic Cultural Commemorative project, which started from the vision in 2009, continued to develop as an art initiative reflecting back as a mirror also the present situation of the world.
Just as in the years around 1912, when the Titanic set off, also in the years of the creation of the project, hundred years later, thousands of people were shifting, migrating from one part of our world to the other, in hope of finding new homes, peace and realizing dreams.
Driven by Newman’s fascination of the individual human stories, she decided to link the past and the present through culture, hope and art. For this reason the Titanic Cultural Commemorative Project also contained an interesting cultural and educational aspect, namely the introduction of the various cultural developments of the different nations of the passengers.
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