Je suis ‘Spirit Rising’ : art points to more excellent way

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, January 15, 2015

Spirit Rising, a 2.5m (8 ft.) tall magnet-topped obelisk of Douglas fir by Cochrane artists Mike Simpson (left) and Glenn Lott, ascends from an iron cage to symbolize “the enduring capacity of humans to rise beyond barriers.” Photos by Warren Harbeck
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Recent headlines have been shouting, “Murder, torture, and terror!”

Poverty, disrespect, insults, and social marginalization have too readily justified, in the minds of some, nightmares such as last week’s shooting of 12 cartoonists and staff at Paris’s Charlie Hebdo, and Boko Haram’s strapping of explosives to an innocent 10-year-old girl “suicide bomber” in Nigeria.

There has to be a better alternative, a more excellent way, than to sink into such darkness of resentment, intolerance, and revenge in response to perceived failures of nations and societies to practice “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” and “liberty and justice for all.”

And in fact, there is a more excellent way.

Two Cochrane-area artists have just completed a sculpture for charitable purposes, over a year in development, that points to just such an uplifting alternative.

In Spirit Rising, a 2.5m (8 ft.) tall wood-and-metal obelisk, Mike Simpson and Glenn Lott have created a tribute to the hope-filled indomitability of the human spirit.

And far from descending into the depths of depravity, the Douglas fir obelisk is drawn longingly upward from its imprisonment within a black hand-wrought iron cage, attracted by principles more glorious, expressed through a rising pod of magnets responding to the beckoning pod of magnets above.

As Mike explains it, Spirit Rising symbolizes the “hope and the enduring capacity of humans to rise beyond barriers.” It “soars beyond its confinements and culminates in a kinetic sculpture representative of rebirth and renewal.”

Mike and Glenn see in their work an expression of Gandhi’s great wisdom: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

They see Spirit Rising as a call to change the world toward responsible freedom – “freedom” as defined by the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, who said: “Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.”

In my own encounter with Spirit Rising, I’m inspired by Mike and Glenn’s power of imagination and creativity to give expression to the sunlight of love, respect, forgiveness and the will to rally arm-in-arm with those of differing opinions for the sake of our common dignity and humanity.

Je suis “Spirit Rising”!


© 2015 Warren Harbeck

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