The Sorry Book Traveling Shrine
In this piece, my art is my activism as much as my activism is my art. I had been on the steering committee of the Santa Fe World Peace Conference. In that context, I revisited Forgiveness, Key to Peace, my earliest performance, and my first work on the theme of peace. Since that time, world events like The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (1996-98) and the Sorry Books of Australia (1998), in which white Australians asked Aboriginals to forgive them for their past actions, reinforced my belief that 'forgiveness is key to peace.' It then made sense for my Sorry Book, presented in a mobile shrine, to lead Santa Fe's Eighth Annual Peace Day's procession. At 32” x 25” x 4 1/2” with 1,000 pages, the book's sizeable dimensions were chosen for the vast amount of forgiveness that the world needs to come to as it is entering the third millennium. The beauty of the book stands for the great beauty that achieving forgiveness represents. The cover of the box protecting the book is made of birch bark, a tree known in the shamanic world as light, protection, and access to divine power. The 1,000 pages (each inscribed with a quote on forgiveness) have 20 pages of handmade paper in between each signature. In future participatory community performances, the book will be inscribed with messages of forgiveness. I am gratefully acknowledging the help of L.D. Burke, an award-winning designer and craftsman, who helped me make the box.