Riding the Rails

During the Great Depression, many people forced off the farm hopped on freight trains, illegally, to chase after work they heard of from hundreds of miles away. If they are lucky, they would have prepared for provisions along the way, or will accept the kindness of strangers they meet along the way.  A shower, a shave are not amenities included in “riding the rails.”

Born of immigrant parents in Philadelphia, Pablo Davis worked as a coal miner at age 14 until he became involved in a strike. He noted an ad in the paper that Diego Rivera was to begin work on murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  The teen-aged Pablo Davis, determined to meet Diego, then rode the rails to Detroit.

On reaching Detroit, yard workers could not tell him where the museum was. When he eventually found it, the guards will not let him in.  He sat sadly on its front steps and a woman came by and said to him,”You look like you just lost your best friend.”

The woman – Frida Kahlo – took him into the museum and introduced him to Diego Rivera. This was an important meeting, as Pablo assisted Diego in the layering of the fresco murals.  In tribute to him, Diego depicted him, alongside workers, on the south wall of The Detroit Industry Murals still standing at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

In 1985, Pablo Davis was the only person depicted in the murals still alive, and he was used as an advisor in the restoration work of the mural.

Our visit to this museum last May 11-12 was like a pilgrimage.


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Depending on the kindness of others

I do not know why I am compelled to create these. I love the way the clay feels and how they allow my fingers and hands to trace the contours and something immaterial inside and outside of the edges of the figure that is before me.

Now that I must bring them home I wonder where to put them, or, worse: how to transport them.

Rosario offered to drive them from the studio. Thank you Chaiyo!

Gathering boxes, wrapping paper, cloths and a few other items, I ventured on TTC.

With boxes and I plan my steps, how to manouevre those stairs at Sherbourne Subway Station. Then a young woman came and helped carry them all the flights of stairs to the platform! She said I reminded her of her mom. How sweet is that?!!

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Out of the moulds!

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Waiting for those blue lights

TTC next vehicle said you’d be here eight minutes ago.

Now it says wait abother four.

It’s not that I have to go to work or anything.

It’s just that there are some ciment-lined silicone moulds waiting to be opened:

  • A bust of Carmina
  • A head of Robin
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The Breath Between Us

I am honoured to have some of my pieces included in the show, “The Breath Between Us”
Please join me and others for the official Opening Reception on Wednesday February 21 at 6:00pm in the Cathedral. Remarks, poetry, prayer, and music will kick off the evening, followed by refreshments, live jazz music, and ample time to view the artwork. Spend time mingling with the artists and take in the incredible energy of the Cathedral transformed by works of art.

Free & open to all.

 St. James Cathedral is at 65 Church Street (at King St.)
A selection of my work on exhibit will be
  • three prints:
    • an Intaglio (Sip of Tea),
    • a linocut (Hagar) and
    • a serigraph (Lightbreak),
  • one oil on canvas painting (Saphira);
  • four ciment fondue pieces on the depiction of ephemerality (Carmina and three figures) and
  • a compendium of a bronze figure, ceramic pieces of a box, a lizard and a tree trunk and a ciment fondue base depicting the story of Alamát ng Butikî. It will show for a month along with other artists in the community. I am honoured to be included in the show. 

A theme description of these pieces are as follows:


  • Fragility.Carmina and the three figures. Reflecting fragility. Constantin Brancusi said, “What is real is not the external form, but the essence of things… it is impossible for anyone to express anything essentially real by imitating its exterior surface.” In many ways, all materials have always been here.  Clay remains and is recycled. The same materials we hold today were here before we were. Perhaps, the images and the sounds made then have been recorded in these same materials, if we just listenandlook very closely.
  • Lightbreak
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice,
To undo the thongs of the yoke,
To let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into your house;
When you see the naked to cover them and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn
And your healing shall spring up quickly. [Isaiah 58:1-9a]
The Distillery District did not always look like the shinybauble that it is now. I remembered looking at a window in one of those dark buildings and saw how the light broke in from one of its panes, seeming to fill the room with some sense of daring, throwing an insult to the darkness, showing it for what it is and  inviting the viewer to swim in its waves of light.
  • Alamát ng Butikî. The Legend of the Lizard. The legend is actually quite disturbing but is a common story that is told about the nobility
    of motherhood. I started thinking about Mary as a mother who had a son who was bent to behave and act in a way that brovsvsvs-alamat ng butikike her heart. The legend of the lizard still disturbs me. It is because it was Mary the mother who saw her son broken. Maybe I’ll finish writing that story some day.




  • Saphira. There is that moment of recognition

Saphira - Acts 5that she lied and kept something hidden away. Saphira, the gem, wife of Ananias was stricken and died. Acts 5: 1-11

  • Hagar. She bore a child for her mistress, which was found redundant and so was thrown out to survive in the wilderness, yet God heard her cry, contended with her and gave her the means to survive and for her son Ishmael to thrive.
  • Sip of Tea. It is a sip of life, to take a pause, sometimes with friends, or alone, to feel the warmth and the astringency, and be alive again.
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Britain Street

Source: Britain Street

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The Hour of the Wolf

The sculptures and this e-mail, led me to see her work.

Beste mensen,

Graag stel ik u ervan op de hoogte dat de beeldenserie „The Hour of the Wolf” opnieuw te zien zal zijn. In Museum Jan Cunen worden de beelden geëxposeerd op een etage van een gigantisch herenhuis, in de voormalige slaapvertrekken. Ieder beeld krijgt een kamer, en het licht zal verduisterd zijn om de sfeer te versterken. Het is een ideale plek om dit project te tonen, zoals ik het altijd in gedachte had. Je mag door de slaapkamers van de slapelozen dwalen en ze bekijken tijdens een heel intiem moment. Wat een troostende gedachte dat je tijdens een slapeloze nacht, niet de enige bent die wakker ligt..

Wilt u de opening bijwonen? Reageer dan snel, er is een beperkt aantal plekken: info@museumjancunen.nl

Hartelijke groet,

Lotta Blokker

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The Yurt


“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls,” Paul Simon in the Sound of Silence, February 1964.


The yurt became the symbol of the Occupy movement, the “Q,” carrying with it the dreams and aspirations for an alternative to the greed that is imposed as the mainstream.

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Plegaria Muda

In February 2015 I saw Doris Salcedo’s Plegaria Muda, an installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Each sculpture was composed of two tables inverted upon the other with a layer of earth in between where live grass was shooting out from the inverted table on top.

The artist said that her research into gang violence in Los Angeles showed that victims and perpetrators share socioeconomic circumstances that lead to conditions of increased violence. Viewed as lesser in the eyes of society, these lives matter only to those who grieve for them, as for the grieving mothers of those in mass graves in Colombia.

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Cincinnati, May 2013

new Cincy

Revitalization efforts transformed Washington Park into a park much like any other city parks as found in Toronto. In 2001, Cincinnati had one of the largest urban disorders in the United States.

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