Greenbnrier High School art student Ami Flowers (left) and art instructor Dawn Graves look at the 7-square foot Reality and Hope display in the hallway of the school.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"Sacrifice" is the word Ami Flowers painted on her ceramic hand that was used in the Sept. 11 memorial art installation, Reality and Hope, displayed in the mall at Greenbrier High School.
"I just felt so many people unselfishly gave of themselves to save lives without thinking of what could happen to them," the senior art student said.
Three of art teacher Dawn Graves classes had a hand in the project. It begins with a cloud on one beam with the words of a Bob Marley song, Everything is Gonna Be Alright.
"We're dealing with a serious issue that brings forth a lot of emotion," Graves said. "For them to do something physical through their artwork, it was a way they could physically display what they were feeling on the inside."
The major part of the installation is a 7-square foot pile of rubble covered in ash. An American flag rises above the center of the pile. The ceramic hands are holding the flag pole and surround it. Students used their own hands for models and each has a word that represents some of their feelings about that day: Fear, Destruction, Sorrow, and then on the hands holding the flag, the words Strength and Justice are etched .
"So much of what we saw on TV was the firemen and the other visible heros, but it was the hands of the people that held the flag up, the hands of those that pitched in in the aftermath that kept people strong," Graves said.
Beyond the installation, a representation of the twin towers hangs in two panels from the ceiling. In between them is a cloud with ten religious symbols and the words "One Nation Under..."
Graves said she wanted to represent people of all religions in the piece. The Twin Towers, which are actually several paintings pieced together, are whole for a purpose.
"The biggest struggle I went though was I wanted to represent true feelings, but also one of hope. That's why I decided to keep them fully intact and not crumbling," Graves said.
Ami's painting is a block on one of the towers.
"It's the hand of evil holding the plane and the hand of God coming down," she said. "He's leading the souls up to heaven."
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