by Janis Kirstein


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The title of my Project Proposal is: "SOJOURN EMPATHIES:  A Commemoration of All Who Have Lost Homes and Loved Ones Through Violence in War Torn Countries."

In the anticipated result of this project I will produce four mixed media painted collages on tyvek, approximately  5' x 6' that express the upheaval and uncertainty facing people in war torn countries. From these people, who have, through no fault of their own have been unjustly forced from their homes, who have lost their loved ones, and their way of life, I will draw my inspiration, and through the creation of these paintings, I will give my honor, prayers and salutations back to these heroes on our planet. In addition, I also propose to create a series 5-10 collage constructions on framed board using this same theme.

I am a visual fine artist and have been painting for more than 30 years and have exhibited my work internationally for many years. I am a painter with a history of creating large expressionistic paintings.

The reason for my project is to communicate to others the necessity of confronting the problems of people who have lost their homes in war torn countries. In order to create this work I will need a studio space. The reason I currently don't have a studio space is due to the fact that I had to leave my last year's art studio, the reason being that next-door neighbors there threatened my life numerous times. Because of these threats to my life I was forced to leave the greatest studio space I ever had. I never anticipated that I would have to confront such a problem in small town USA, but because I did, I feel this duress gave me empathy for the plight of people and refugees from war torn countries.

I have been interested and have been working with the subject of unjust upheaval from the home my entire lifetime. My earliest awareness of these problems emerged when I used to watch streams of black people moving out of their homes in my hometown Atlanta, Georgia with all their belongings. They were facing eviction from their homes resulting from the fact that large corporations would begin tearing down existing homes to build big, modern monoliths for office space in the downtown Atlanta area.

Since that time, I have always empathized with people who are forced from their homes unjustly, and especially now that I have been unjustly removed from my studio, I feel compelled to act on and express these feelings through this proposed body of work.

Since the USA entered into war with Iraq, I have been working with the theme of war torn countries. I have exhibited these works in professional galleries since that time. The image you see is a collage I made combining a photographic self-portrait with mixed media to show my solidarity with and sympathy for the women and children of Iraq during that time of upheaval. I intend to use some of these same techniques in the proposed series "SOJOURN EMPATHIES."

For the purpose of creating this body of work, I am asking for a minimum of $2,500 to cover the costs of art material and supplies. The funds will also be used to rent a space suitable for creating this kind of work and for producing this particular body of work and the art materials necessary to create this work. In the most joyful event of a funding overflow, I will use additional funds to procure more months of rental for the space. Overflow would also be used for more art supplies.

With supporters' help I will be able to create this body of work and offer it for the possibility of exhibition in a public space.

I would like to thank all of my supporters for your most generous help in this worthy endeavor.


Janis Kirstein

    • March 08, 2014 Betsy Grimes Community Member

      Jan, this is wonderful. Will forward link to my niece in CA, a sophomore at Santa Clara. ( Kathie's 2nd daughter, my namesake, an artist in her own right, and vigorously passionate about fighting human traffiking. Your two issues overlap well, I think. She has a little website thru Zazzle where she sells her art to donate $ to The International Justice Mission. Link is www, I think a couple of her pieces will really speak to you. And yours to her. Love, Betsy. ps niece is Elizabeth Sherwin