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The Witness Project: 2007

by Robin Masi

June 26 - September 16, 2007

Photograph of wedding dress

Milagro Transfiguration Garment (Fitchburg Museum view)

Artist's Statement

There are occasions in life when being a witness is the only role one can inhabit. It is a role of inaction, presence and silence. However, it can also be a very powerful role. Whether one is a witness to a global catastrophe or a personal tragedy, it is one that honors the validation of existence. Being a witness is a role of stillness, meaning and hope.

The Witness Project began in 2001 as a response to what I had experienced after visiting the World Trade Center site six times from 2001–2004 after the events of 9/11. Large-scale charcoal drawings depicting the architecture that remained at Ground Zero, conceptual costumes from recycled garments, interviews, sound and music were presented to depict the duality of tragedy and hope experienced at the site of such a tragedy. Being at Ground Zero, one experiences humanity at its absolute worst and its absolute best. My hope with this project was to help folks who are unable to see the site in person to experience, on some small level, that duality and gain some sense of hope from these events that touched us all. To help us all further along in our own belief systems—whatever they may be. At the end of the exhibit an interactive piece, Transfiguration, is provided for the viewer to offer a remembrance or milagro to the events around that time or their own personal offering. The Witness Project has been on exhibit over five times since 2002 and, to date, there are over 500 milagros pinned on the piece.

The Witness Project: 2007 is a continuation of the exploration of what it means to be a witness both as a citizen and as an individual. The new work is based on a personal exploration of being a witness conveyed in works that reference Michelangelo’s Pieta, the white grid, and organic form.

The exhibition will have several pieces from the original series including St. Paul’s Chapel, Transfiguration, and Vestment, Rev. James Martin, CSJ, as well as new work based on a personal inquiry into the role of what it means to be a witness.

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