Charis Carmichael Braun is another one of the absolutely wonderful American artists who have offered to read my newest book, Hungry Ghosts, and prepare an artwork based on it. I love her work (I have posted some of it up on my blog before) so I was really delighted to have her as part of the online and physical exhibitions.
Her painting is called “Where Do We Go From Here?” It’s a powerful, disturbing work by one of the few artists in the show (Sharon VanStarkenburg and Lauren Amalia Redding being two others) who has focussed on the murder victims.
Charis describes how Hungry Ghosts inspired her:
The relationship between the two victims in Hungry Ghosts intrigued me: they were so very different – separated by thousands of miles, opposite socio-economic statuses, dissimilar experiences – yet bound by a connecting thread. I kept seeing these two women victims together in the same image and I anticipated pulling more threads of similarity to bind them together as I read further into the book.
Sketching some preliminary concepts (two profiles, facing apart; two bodies strewn together; two figures occupying the same space but with different environments), I was reminded of the mythical two-headed Roman god, Janus. When I was in Rome so very long ago, I saw a statue of Janus that looked like me – it had my profile(s)!
So I quietly filed the sculpture in the back of my mind, hoping to bring it out in the future. It has since lingered, tapping a constant reminder, much like Inspector Ramirez’ ghosts… so for this project, I am pulling that idea and invoking the concept of the dissimilar women of “Hungry Ghosts” in an image fitting into my current series, Sit with Me, Stay With Me.
(“Sit with Me, Stay With Me” is a series of images documenting the time Charis is able to spend with her elder sister, whose debilitating arthritis is in the end stages. She explains:”Like Janus looks both forward and backward at the same time, my sister and I are facing different directions: she to the end of her life, and I to the proverbial beginning of mine.”)
“Where Do We Go From Here” is acrylic on board, 11″ x 8.5,” priced at $ 775 USD. You can see it and the other wonderful pieces on display in the Hungry Ghosts Art Exhibition at Cake and Shake in Hintonburg, Ottawa throughout the month of June.
Her artwork is bound to themes about vulnerability, projection and reconciliation, drawing from her faith and familial relationships. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and may be found in both private and public collections.
Charis also serves in leadership positions on two NYC arts not-for-profits: Spark and Echo Arts and the Alumni Association of the New York Academy of Art. She is currently a caretaker and the Director of Communications at The League Residency at Vyt, an international artist residency program of the Art Students League of New York. With her husband Andrew Braun, a woodworker and cabinetmaker, Charis lives and works in New York.
You can see more of her work on her website. Thanks, Charis!