Namaya - Writings, Podcast, Art & Musings. about


ARTISTIC STATEMENT  – Namaya – Poet & Artist

I aspire to give voice to those without a voice and create a vision of peace and justice.  Through performances, word, and community engagement I, with my team and collaborators, create art that celebrates the possibility of peace. I am world citizen, and my allegiance is to the well-being of our planet and creating peace.

Creativity is essential to my being– life, breath, creating.   Poetry is my first voice, and it is through this lens that I most readily see and understand the world.  My artistic palette includes paint, sculpture, music, words, etc., each discipline adds a color to my palette.

I create many of my projects for public engagement.  Art needs to go where the people are and needs to stretch beyond the walls of museums. My core guiding philosophy is drawn from Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” He demands in the process of education and awareness there is a radical dialectic to bring truth and healing forward. Therefore, collaboration and community engagement are an essential part of my work.

As an international citizen, and artist my world view is profoundly informed by the mosaic of cultures I’ve been privileged to work with and serve. I’ve have traveled to over 100 countries, lived in Spain, worked in Morocco, and served in Yemen with the as a Peace Corps.  I’m conversant in four languages and this multicultural richness has impacted how I see the world. Following are some examples of work that demonstrate who I am as an artist and how I work:

ChileMemoria. Hablar. Dignidad. was created at Villa Grimaldi Peace Park, which is a former torture center. During my 2-month residency there, I had the privilege to work with people affected by the Pinochet dictatorship. My conversations informed the development of the project. One woman spoke to me of her trauma, that she never sleeps at night because the cries of the torture victims she heard as a child, kept her awake 40 years later. Her story became a poem I wrote, and a dance that I created for the Chilean dancers Tar Danza called “Wind Howling in the Night: Viento Gritando.”

Many of the victims and artists spoke of how the installation and show helped them in their healing. During the closing ceremony many people wept as we illuminated the tower of social justice and joyfully sang “Gracias A La Vida.”

Palestine- Israel – I have presented many projects like “Witness to Genocide: Israel Palestine: A Journey to Peace” at Clearwater Music Festival in NY, in Palestine at Al Rowadd Theater located in a refugee camp, and other public spaces to engage audiences in a conversation about: How do we create a just peace for the people of Palestine and Israel?

Belfast, Northern Ireland – I was invited to present on my approach to community engagement through art to the annual meeting of International Peace Museums. This provided a chance for me to influence museum programming and gave me the opportunity to meet leaders who fostered reconciliation during “The Troubles.

New Orleans Art Center – I and my team were sponsors of three simultaneous shows as part of the Prospect art event in New Orleans in 2018: 1) “Pornography of War” a retrospective for my work on war and militarism. 2) An international peace arts competition that drew artists from New Orleans and around the world and was simulcasted in Australia. 3) The “Deadly Impact of Guns” show was added as during our residency in New Orleans there were five gun deaths.   During this month-long event artists were present to meet with viewers; discussion programs were held and I performed my play “War is a Racket: Major General S. Butler.” The shows were engaging and emotional. A survivor of Hiroshima came and thanked me for having this important show on peace. Another compelling conversation was with a young Iraqi Veteran, who after seeing my sculpture “Lagrima” started to cry. It was the first time this Veteran had opened up and spoke of the impact of his service to anyone.

My on-going and new projects will continue to focus on finding new ways to communicate as an artist as well as finding new audiences and venues:

Vietnam: Agent Orange Do Not Forget Me – This on-going project 2022-2025 is on the impact of Agent Orange on the land and people of Vietnam.  A theme in this project how are we also engaged in this process of forgiveness? It consists of presentations in the St Petersburg and an art installation in the War Remnants museum in Vietnam and virtual presentations available worldwide.

The Ecology of Love– Is a multiyear project of art and performance that focuses on the ecological crisis. I recently finished a children’s play “House of War: House of Glass” and am now establishing relationship with schools and children’s theaters in St Petersburg to produce it. I plan to create sculptures and paintings on this theme.

Here are several reviews of my artwork and performances:

Namaya’s art subject goes straight to the danger zone, which is what is needed in our moment. In going to our collective underworld, it honors our humanity and foibles. The direct imagery, the emotional metaphysical level charged objects, and his availability to participate in a dialog about war and peace creates a safe place to bring matters out from the darkness, which is exciting and refreshing.”  Alison Beth Levy, Independent Art Curator

 “Namaya offers and engagement with each person at a deeper level of our personhood, beyond the pedestrian reach of the well-turned phrase of provocative idea… He offers the chance to share the profound experiences wrought by Nature upon us.” Jim Knowlton Executive Director Emeritus Manchester Library, VT

“Namaya shares insights of a life spent on the political and religious margins, in conflict zones such as Israel, Palestine, Yemen, and North America. Most of all, as an artist and a public intellectual, he sees his work not as a static statement but as a starting point for open and frank conversation — welcoming a dynamic exchange, with critics and supporters alike, in a collaborative forum to envision a just and peaceful world.” Ethan Vesely-Flad – Fellowship of Reconciliation