The Circle of Life
Inspired by Sir Elton John.
With the recent fairy tale ending of The Beatles adventures, and the successful auction of the piano autographed by Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, what followed was the inevitable question:
How can East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity top this at the 2015 Home Is Where the Art Is gala?
To that, the answer is that we don’t wish to top it. Our goal is to do something different, something that brings the community together through the catharsis of art as a proponent for the greater good. Yet we find ourselves seeing all of the elements coming together in such a way that begs the very same question that began and ended The Beatles adventures:
Do you believe in Destiny?
As we had wrapped up that adventure, a friend suggested that we should invite Sir Elton John to perform on the newly-autographed piano. And, as was the case with the original suggestion that we invite Sir Paul to perform, we smiled and fantasized, “What if?”
It was just days later that the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2015 schedule was announced, and in what could be considered yet another twist of fate, Sir Elton John was named as a headliner, marking his first-ever appearance at the event.
Coincidence? Or Destiny, Round Two?
(Insert a few bits of trivia here: Sir Elton is the godfather of John Lennon’s son, Sean. And John Lennon’s final live performance was at a 1974 Elton John concert in Madison Square Garden, the result of a bet between the two musicians.)
So here’s the deal.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, Slidell was Louisiana’s hardest hit city, with 40% of the city submerged, and 90% of homes damaged or totally destroyed.
While we’ve made great strides in rebuilding, both infrastructure and community spirit, we have not lost sight of the fact that some families were unable to return, some homes unable to be rebuilt.
Yet we continue to move forward. To evolve. To grow. To aim higher. And to believe in looking forward to the great possibilities that still lie ahead.
We still have faith in “The Little Habitat that Dreams Big.”
It’s with this tenacity, this vision, this belief in making the impossible possible that artist Rose Marie Sand has created this magnificent mosaic inspired by Sir Elton John and titled, appropriately, The Circle of Life.
The dream is to secure the autograph of Sir Elton John in the center, the sun, to bring more Hope to Habitat and more homes to deserving families.
The artwork will be part of the Hope for Habitat: Katrina X fundraiser to be held on the tenth anniversary of the storm, August 29, 2015.
In the artist’s words:
I began working in stained glass in 1980. The timeless appeal and the intrinsic beauty of stained glass enrich my life as an artist.
Before Hurricane Katrina, my husband and I operated a screen printing business called Sand Graphic & Design in south Louisiana. Work as a graphic artist contributed to my sense of order. But that not-so-perfect storm devastated my home and community, and it destroyed that sense of order for a time.
When volunteers helped gut my warehouse in Chalmette, they found and cleaned many sheets of stained glass stored there. The fact that something as seemingly fragile as glass had survived the wreckage, and that something so valuable to me was found by those volunteers, gave me hope.
After the tragedy of that storm, working in glass again was a lifesaver. Mosaic and mixed media pieces are my way to turn what might have been trash into treasures. Many of my pieces use the found objects I have collected all my life–little things that survived a storm.
Rebirth–physical and emotional–feels right as the light, movement and color of a stained glass mosaic comes together. Life is about putting things together, not tearing things apart, and I hope that my work does that not only for me, but also for the viewer.
Inspired by Sir Elton John’s song, The Circle of Life was created from stained glass, clay pieces, shells, fused glass, millefiori, stones, mirror, alcohol ink, riven edge glass, and a bit of blood, sweat and tears.
Art is subjective, and I hope what you see in this piece moves you as the song has moved me. A friend saw the eye of a hurricane, and although that was not in my thoughts as I placed the tesserae, perhaps we always move through the circle of life, in the eye of a hurricane. The reflective surfaces of mirror and reflective glasses enable the viewers to see themselves in the circle of life.
It could just as easily have been written as the anthem for Habitat.
The Circle of Life
Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Tim Rice
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It’s the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life
Dear Sir Elton,
Can’t you feel the love tonight?