George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an Irish dramatist who transformed the Victorian theater by rejecting melodrama for social consciousness that express his radical views and philosophies in the theater. His play Pygmalion (1913) was adapted into a musical called My Fair Lady in 1956.

Pygmalion

Drawing of Pygmalion the Parrot by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

The Wizard was wise – but he knew nothing.

The Wizard was kind – but he cared nothing.

The Wizard did good – but he did nothing.

He was just himself.

And the Parrot, apparently, was only a dirty, stupid, squawking She-parrot; but the Wizard took her, and taught her, and turned her squawk into the most beautiful voice, and turned her into a most beautiful… but I mustn’t tell you that until the end of my story.

(This image was inspired by the designs of Phyllis A. Trery and the introductory words from a retelling of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” in Tales from Bernard Shaw told in the Jungle by Gwladys Evan Morris and illustrated by Phyllis A. Trery, London: George G. Harrap & Co., 1929.)

Watch out

“Watch out w’en youer gittin’ all you want. Fattenin’ hogs ain’t in luck.” Quote by Joel Chandler Harris, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908) was an American writer and folklorist best known for his collection of “Uncle Remus” stories “Br’er Rabbit” stories written in dialect. Harris worked as an apprentice on a plantation during his teenage years where he gathered stories from the African-American oral tradition.

Plodding

Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

The Hare boasted of his speed within a congregation of animals: “I’ve never been beaten when I run at my full speed.” Then he put forth a challenge to all of his animal friends: “Does anybody care to race me today?”

The tortoise quietly stepped forward: “I accept your challenge.”

The Hare hopped up with delight: “That’s a joke? I could dance around you the whole way and still beat you!”

The Tortoise modestly responded: “Keep your boasting until you finish the race.” She glanced at the other critters with a curious grin: “You’re on.”

Soon a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted forth at once and disappeared around a bend. Then paused to wait for the others to arrive… showing his contempt for the Tortoise and lay down to take a nap.

The Tortoise plodded on and on, patiently, carefully. The Hare awoke to see her just at the finish line and could not run fast enough to save the race.

All of the animals observed that plodding wins the race.

Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare postcard

 

Nursery Rhyme

April 6, 2017

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“One, two, three, four, five. I caught a fish alive. Why did you let it go? It bit my finger so.” Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Nursery Rhyme Postcard

 

Nursery Rhyme Postcard

 

Sources

WHAT ARE SOURCES? WORDS – OBJECTS -IMAGES. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

What is re-search?

Doing research is the process of investigating evidence from the past; it can also involved surfacing and examining memories of individuals who resonate with our own values… or challenge them. Re-searching can be a valuable and transformative experience that compels us to check our own pulse and to be accountable. Detachment allows us to watch events unfold so that we can understand how a community’s character developed. We cannot look at our own past in anger. Our motivation to research directs our energy; questions channeled only with anger do not reveal truth that heals. As a society, we are who we are, and what we are because of events that happened in the past, and understanding the past can help us to develop maps of social justice for the future.

 Where to begin… what is essential

Always begin research with resources that are available. Secondary research materials contain interpretations of evidence can provide essential overviews. Once you have an overview of your topic, you can then go to primary sources: words… objects… images…

WORDS

It is tempting to rely upon moving images to understand how events unfold, but they rarely tell the entire story. When critically thinking about broadcast news content consider who tells history and who collects history. Research must be comparative; relevance continually shifts in a changing world. Adjacent communities may be operating with and reacting to similar challenges to our own.

OBJECTS

A reset, retracing experiences from the past… Values shape the development of society and culture, and these factors change over time. What we care about can change radically, dramatically, and irrevocably with a single event.

IMAGES

Images from button pins to posters to photographs place ideas and events into context.

Power to the People Symbol

“Power to the people” was a powerful symbol of Third World student activism during the late-1960s.

Oriental

Oriental (of the East) and Occidental (of the West) in a Yin/yang symbol designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

If Asians are called oriental, then Europeans and Westerners can be called occidental. The term “oriental” has been classified as a politically incorrect term for “Asian.” Correct usage of “oriental” has been identified as best used as an adjective for things (inanimate objects) and not human beings. Whereas, the term “Occidental” has been used to refer to Western, as opposite of “oriental.”

In Chinese philosophy, yin-yang (also 陰陽 yīnyáng, or “dark-bright”) describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent within the natural world; they may actually give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Yin-yang perceives components holistically within nature and the environment as with sky and earth, night and day, water and fire, male and female, and active and passive.

 

The Whole Inhabited World

February 28, 2017

ecumentical

Ecumenism is commonly portrayed symbolically as a boat afloat on the sea of the world with the mast in the form of a cross. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Ecumenism reflects efforts towards the visible and holistic unity among different Christian faiths. The term ecumenical is derived from the Greek word οἰκουμένη (or oikoumene) meaning “the whole inhabited world.” The ecumenical movement involves the search for the visible unity of the Church (Ephesians 4:3) as well as envisioning the “whole inhabited earth” (Matthew 24:14) as the concern for all Christians.

chinese-ecumenical

The recognition of the importance of a spirit of unity is universal and conveyed by many symbols. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Breaking Bread with Nevermore

February 20, 2017

Nevermore, a raven from the ‘hood swooped down behind me the other day, and proceeded to eat an English muffin whole… who was I to argue.

nevermore

“Nevermore” in flight before discovering an abandoned English muffin, portrait by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

“The Raven” was first attributed to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.” Edgar Allen Poe, 1845.

Amused by the raven’s comically serious disposition, the narrator asks that the bird tell him its name. The raven’s only answer is “Nevermore.”

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Nevermore about to take off with his feast.

peafowl

Peacock exits after Juno’s refusal. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

In Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock is identified with Juno who created the Peacock from Argus whose hundred eyes symbolize the vault of heaven and the eyes of the stars.

Aesop tells of when Peacock was hanging out with the Roman goddess Juno. He petitioned her to give him the voice of a nightingale to compliment his handsome attire.

Juno refused.

Peacock persisted though: “Of all the birds, I know I am your favorite.”

To this the goddess wisely responded: “Be content with your lot; one cannot be best in everything.”

Peacock Notecard

 

Art Enables…

January 13, 2017

art-enables-us

“Art enables us to find ourselves and loose ourselves at the same time.” Quote by Thomas Merton, butterfly design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

Magic eye beads of Tibet are called dZi beads, and they are often etched or treated agate revered for their protective qualities.

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One of the stories about dZi beads is that they were originally insects that were petrified.