Posts tagged with "conflict"

Memorial Day illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Meaning Behind Memorial Day

THE MEANING BEHIND MEMORIAL DAY

By: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.” – Maya Angelou

Memorial Day, once referred to as Decoration Day, is an American holiday in the United States that honors military personnel along as well as mourn those that we have lost along the way. Decoration Day was for decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. Memorial Day is formerly observed on the last Monday of May each year. It is a solemn day, but it is also important to reflect upon, appreciate and be thankful for the freedom that we all get to enjoy every day in the United States of America.

Many gather with friends and family for barbeques and celebrating the beginning of summer while others visit cemeteries and memorials to remember their loved ones lost. Each year a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. It is important to remember that we are not celebrating the wars, instead we are remembering those who served and those who gave their last breath in order to ensure that the freedoms of our country would be passed on to the next generations. We remember for the price they paid for the cost of our freedom – their lives given so ours could go on.

Memorial Day was originated after the American Civil War, where the United States faced the task of burying and honoring 600,000 to 800,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the bloodiest military conflict in American history. The first commemoration of Memorial Day was held in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. On this day, both Union and Confederate soldiers were laid to rest. Over the years, cities across the United States host Memorial Day parades that involve military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Americans sometimes wear a red poppy in remembrance of their loved ones, which is a tradition that was born from a World War 1 poem.  

In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Memorial Day has a different meaning behind it for every American. Here at 360 Magazine, we were able to get a few opinions from veterans in the United States.

  • Kyle Skovlund: United States Air Force – Memorial Day has a different meaning for me. Growing up, my parents would travel to Brookings, South Dakota each year to put flowers on the graves of those they had lost. When my own daughter passed away, I began doing the same thing. Memorial Day, for me, is a day to reflect on those that have been lost.
  • Michael Miller: United States Air Force – Memorial Day means remembering and celebrating. Remembering the great men and women that gave their life for our great nation and celebrating the freedoms their sacrifices have given us.
  • J.M. Skovlund: United States Army  – “Memorial Day means exactly what it was intended for, to remember and honor our fallen. They went above and beyond for our country, for the soldier on their left and right, and that’s something not everyone can say.” “Go out and remember the fallen the way you see fit. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. If it’s having a drink in their honor, do that. If it’s going to their grave to chat, do that. Either way, remember the fallen the best way you can, don’t disgrace them.”
Rendition of John D. Gerdes's painting illustrated by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Florida Outsider Art

An Irresistible Urge to Create

The Monroe Family Collection of Florida Outsider Art On view through September 5 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

The passion for Outsider Art runs deep in Florida, where self-taught artists have forged an indelible mark of special attention on the creative landscape of the state. An Irresistible Urge to Create: The Monroe Family Collection of Florida Outsider Art is the most comprehensive exhibition of its kind, on view at the Boca Raton Museum of Art until September 5th. This is the first time a museum has presented this definitive group of artists with an exhibition of this size and scope. Against the odds, many of these artists created obsessively to escape from their worlds that were often full of deep conflict and personal struggles.

Starting in the early 1990s, the photographer Gary Monroe drove throughout the state of Florida for more than ten years― from Key West to Jacksonville to Pensacola― on a mission to find what he calls “Florida’s renegade artists.” Thirty years later, after collecting, protecting and archiving more than 1,000 works by outsider artists, the result is an exhibition that leaves viewers spellbound.

“When I made these journeys across Florida to seek out and connect with these outlier artists, it was before the internet and it was quite laborious,” says Monroe. During his decade-long quest across the state, Monroe personally met nearly all of these artists one by one and became part of their lives. At the time this required a major personal commitment: he had to earn their trust to be allowed into their reclusive worlds. “It was an adventure,” adds Monroe. “Especially since there were no cell phones or GPS. Just good old road maps and phone booths. “Monroe’s odyssey culminated in 2003 when his book Extraordinary Interpretations: Florida’s Self-Taught Artists was published by the University Press of Florida.

The Museum has selected 86 of these works by 44 Florida artists for this landmark exhibition, which has already been tapped to travel to two other museums. “This new project opens a welcome window into another world. The world of wonders that lies outside the artistic establishment” says Irvin Lippman, the Executive Director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. “This confounds our understanding of contemporary art, in a good way.”

“Outliers, boundary-crossers, pilgrims, exiles”

An Irresistible Urge to Create presents 86 works, many never seen before, by 44 Florida artists including: Purvis Young, George Voronovsky, Aurelia “Mama” Johnson, Frank Ritchie, Ruby “Miss Ruby” Williams, Gene Beecher, Kathy d’Adesky, Brian Dowdall, Floryan (Florian) Ludwig, Reva Freedman, Ozzie Lee “OL” Samuels, Sybil Gibson, Joey Smollon, Polly Bernard, Milton Ellis, Janice Kennedy, John Gerdes, Susanne Blankemeier, Morgan Steele, Alyne Harris, and Ed Ott. “For these artists, making art was as essential as breathing,” says Irvin Lippman. “Their artistic freedom was a pure, sincere and intimate means of communication.”

The artists in this exhibition were not interested in monetary gain or acclaim, they just wanted to create. “People who admire the independent spirit that unites these artists are awed by their sense of urgency. Their art is genuine. They let it flow from deep within their interior selves, they did not promote their work,” says Monroe. Most of George Voronovsky’s works, for example, have never been seen before. “I’ve been a custodian of his life’s work for the past 38 years,” adds Monroe.

The show is accompanied by an exhibition catalog with a specially commissioned poem by Campbell McGrath about artists’ urge to create. Titled Florida Primitives, the poem starts: “All Florida artists are primitives, so feral in their soil, so lush, endemic and elemental . . . All Florida artists are outsiders, outliers, highwaymen, boundary-crossers, pilgrims, exiles . . .,” and ends with: “art is an urge as irresistible as Florida.” The state, after all, continues to be known for its high strangeness. Home to 21 million people and growing more every day – especially after the pandemic– Florida also attracts more than 100 million tourists each year, adding to its population. The warm weather has also historically attracted homeless citizens from the colder regions, and people who live on the margins. Since its beginnings, Florida has always been known as a curious destination for artists of all types. Often what happens in Florida can serve as a lens to view upcoming cultural trends for the rest of the country too. The exhibition catalog explores how, over time, the vocabulary that is used to describe these “outsider “artists has evolved as the art world shifts its perception about what art is, and what art can be. “None of these artists were trained technicians, yet they each found their own way to technically transcribe their intuitions,” adds Monroe.

The History of Outsider Art

The interest in what is frequently called Outsider Art began in the early 20th-century with psychiatrists who studied artists who were institutionalized. In 1922, the book Artistry of the Mentally Ill became influential to the Surrealists. Later, in 1948, Jean Dubuffet and others founded the Compagnie de l’Art Brut, a collection of what they called “raw art” – art made outside the traditions of fine art. According to Kathleen Goncharov, the Senior Curator of the Boca Raton Museum of Art: “This interest has recently increased exponentially, as more mainstream institutions celebrate these kinds of artists. ‘Outsider’ artists are now most definitely ‘In.’ Many controversial terms have been bandied about to describe them, such as self-taught (in addition to ‘outsider’), but no truly definitive name yet. I suggest we call all creative works that are arresting, intriguing, and interesting conceptually, as simply ‘art’ and leave it at that. Jean Dubuffet said it best when he declared that art’s best moments are when it forgets what its own name is,” says Goncharov. “Artists create – that’s what they do.”

Up until 20 years ago, this work was not widely accepted as fine art. It wasn’t shown in museums and professionals from the art world looked down upon it. “This challenges the primary beliefs of traditional artmaking and has added a lot to the plurality of art,” says Monroe. “Being surrounded by such a large collection of artworks made by self-taught artists are invigorating. Especially because of their visual resolve to express themselves without convention.”

No Distance

These artists were not learning from their predecessors, their works are all coming from deep within themselves. Many of them dealt with deep emotional loss in their lives and debilitating conflict. Yet at the same time, they each experienced an overwhelming surge of creativity in their lives. “A lot of times, when going to see a museum or gallery show the viewer experiences a sense of distance, exhibitions can feel standoffish,” says Monroe. “Here, there is no distance between you and these self-taught artists. I think it’s because the work is so visceral. There’s no pretense whatsoever, no artifice, there are no rules.”

Most of the artists in this exhibition worked in total isolation. There were no political points to be made. These are people who created solely by delving into their own psyche and expressing themselves purely. Their art is not part of anything else except their own reality, they were not following canon. “There’s nothing between you and their art because it is so heartfelt,” adds Monroe. “This project gives you a glimpse into their psyche, which is so different from ours. Their whole being comes across. As the title suggests, they were driven to create.”

Virtual Art Experiences from the Museum’s Digital Galleries

The Boca Raton Museum of Art has created virtual tours and activities for art lovers from around the world to enjoy online, including this exclusive video presentation by Gary Monroe discussing the lives and work of under-recognized Florida artists, and Only in Florida! Your Story, Your Art with Dr. Caren Neile, a dynamic performance/lecture that weaves together the creative impulses and talents of storytellers and outsider visual artists – both groups who were long considered unworthy of serious recognition and study (funded through a grant from the Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities). Support is provided by Art Bridges Foundation for the Museum’s virtual programming #BocaMuseumatHome and #KeepKidsSmartwithArt.

More About the Exhibition and the Catalogue

After originating at the Boca Raton Museum of Art through September 5, the exhibition will travel to the Tampa Museum of Art (November 4, 2021 – May 22, 2022), and then to the Mennello Museum of American Art (June 10, 2022 – October 16, 2022). The exhibition catalog, published by the Boca Raton Museum of Art, is available for purchase at the museum store.

About the Museum

Kicking off its eighth decade in 2021, the Boca Raton Museum of Art encompasses a creative campus that includes the Museum in Mizner Park and the Art School. As one of South Florida’s cultural landmarks, the Museum has provided cultural and artistic service to the community, and to many visitors from around the world, since it was founded by artists in 1950. Visit the museum website to enjoy the Museum’s current online content, including video tours and digital gallery guides. Support for #BocaMuseumatHome and #KeepKidsSmartwithArt virtual programming is provided by Art Bridges Foundation. Museum hours, admission prices and more visitor information available here.

About Gary Monroe

Gary Monroe is a Florida photographer and author. He received a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Monroe has photographed people and culture in numerous countries and throughout Florida, including the endings of the old-world Jewry that once characterized Miami’s South Beach, with extensive travels throughout Haiti, tourists on their “rite of passage” at Disney World, and corporate effects on the landscape. In addition, Mr. Monroe has written ten books about Florida art, including the seminal book, The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters, which explores uncharted cultural territories and constitutes a meaningful part of our social history.

Doctor, Coronavirus, Health, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine,

Klaus Jakelski on Doctors and the Unimaginable

By Klaus Jakelski

Frank Lambert’s soul had hemorrhaged dry long before he volunteered for his present deployment. He just didn’t know it yet.

The battle-hardened surgeon had seen action in Rwanda, Burundi and Chechnya. Some of the bad memories he had suppressed. Others came to him only in nightmares, which he could never quite remember. His service had been one known for faultless, hard work in the operating room and afterwards, hard drinking to keep the demons out. Most recently he had substantially turned himself around — made himself better — at least that’s what he thought.

But life in the civilized world of Boston operating rooms had not been enough for him. He soon needed to feel the rush of adrenalin which propped up his self-identity.

Volunteering with an NGO that operated a forward relief station under NATO protection, he found himself in the middle of the Yugoslavian Civil war of the 90’s. He thought it was a simple mis-understood conflict in Europe — the civilized world after all — what could be horrible about that?

But as the conflict raged around Sarajevo, Frank and his nurse ally, Gwen Pakin, felt isolated from the main conflict. Until the inevitable arrived. The girls and young women who had been raped. Naturally, the two elected to do the procedures to free the girls from the captivity of unwanted pregnancy.

With each of his five daily cases, Frank became mesmerized by the splashing of the red evacuation bottle. Torn between gladness for the life he had restored and sadness for the life he had taken. Each one eating away at another part of his soul.

A cousin of mine, a battlefield trained ex US Navy anesthetist, recently volunteered to work in the ICU at Columbia Presbyterian hospital in Queens NY. Nothing in her training had prepared her for the month she spent there, looking after COVID-19 patients. Loosing an average of six patients per day is not a normal experience in anybody’s books. She told me she managed to suppress the bad parts of her experience.

Which is exactly what Frank had done all his working life. Especially in combat areas where each reparation of a torn human body whether it was by suturing, exploring a bodily cavity, amputation or some other surgical alchemy, was exactly the sort of thing that would result in a non-surgeon being recommended for a long stay in a psychiatric prison. But Frank, entrusted by regulatory authorities and accustomed to the controlled carnage of surgery as he was, had learned how to cope. At first suppressing the memories in a dark corner of his soul. And when the burden became too great, unlike my cousin, he began to self-medicate. At first with a little, but as the painful psychological provocation became too great, with more and more alcohol.

Such is the plight of many first responders, whether civilian, or in the military. If not alcohol, then another substance.

Even though nurse Pakin recognized that Frank was better than on his last deployment, she quickly saw through him, because she had issues herself. A life rocked by personal loss and service in conflict zones, no matter how altruistic, had left her with emotional scars too.

So Frank wasn’t quite able to compartmentalize his new reality. He wasn’t able to separate the liberation of a woman from her rape, from taking the life of her unborn. He knew just as well that the simple procedure would never return the woman’s soul to its rightful place after the tortuous transgression.

Frank found his trigger in the swirling red evacuation bottle on the wall of his makeshift operating room. The bottle that drew him in at the end of every case, one at a time, and separated him one more degree from his freedom, as he developed a new found affinity for a different bottle of liquor.

This type of scenario plays itself out repeatedly in our every day society. There’s no need to go to a war-torn area to meet an antagonist like the dark genocidal Kamenko Hradich, who has all the surface veneers of a gentle family man, until he reaches his breaking point. We know this all too well.

The people who deal with this type of suffering are right here. These first responders are all around us. Many of them as yet unaware of their trouble. We only need to recognize them.

As for the issue of war rape – It is so easy for us to sit in our comfortable space when bad things happen elsewhere.

Two hundred or so girls are kidnapped in Africa to the service of some African war lord. We see it on the evening news. We turn it off and say to each other, well I’m glad that is over there, as we roll over onto our pillows and go to sleep.

And still we don’t make the connection. The one that #Me Too is making. The one that is circulating in the most genteel corridors of our society, as well as our schools. The notion that a certain treatment of women is alright, as long as it never gets called out.

Really?

The systematic rape of thousands of women occurred in a civilized area of Europe, alongside the most monstrous genocide since the holocaust. What does it take for that sort of thing to boil over in another advanced society?

My guess is, as Frank followed his adrenalin rush from case to case, he didn’t have a chance.

How to Plan a Successful Vacation with Your Other Half

Travel cannot only allow you to soak up different cultures and experience new sights and sounds, but it can potentially bring you and your spouse closer together. However, the destination you pick, the itinerary you create and the activities you choose can determine whether a break is a success or failure.

To ensure you both look back on a trip with much fondness, read the below advice on how to plan a successful vacation with your other half.

Choose a Destination to Suit You Both

While you might have your heart set on a destination, you should never push your idea onto your other half, or you could completely ruin their travel experience. Instead, you must choose a location that suits both your needs, which will ensure have an unforgettable time together.

Select the Right Mode of Transportation

Once you have chosen a destination together, you will next need to select the right mode of transport for you both. For example, if you are enjoying a vacation at home, you could jump into your car and enjoy a fun road trip.

If, however, you are traveling overseas or to the opposite end of the country, browse the market for the best flight times for your needs. However, if you are heading to Texas, you could add a little romance and luxury into your journey with a private jets Dallas flight.

Take Advantage of Travel Perks

Are you and your other half celebrating a milestone anniversary or honeymoon? Inform hotel staff once you arrive at your accommodation. As a result, you might receive:

• a complimentary room upgrade

• a bottle of champagne

• a free meal at the hotel’s restaurant

Enjoy Some Alone Time

Conflict can easily arise when you spend every waking minute together. Rather than allowing tension to bubble, it is beneficial to enjoy a little time apart on vacation.

For example, take a walk to the store alone, enjoy a dip in the pool while your partner reads a book, or go for a siesta to recharge your batteries. The short break away will also provide some time to miss your other half, so you will feel happier when you come back together.

Prioritize Activities

It is likely you and your partner will have a list of activities you want to experience at a destination. To ensure you each get to tick an attraction off your bucket list, you must both state the places or things you would like to see/do during a getaway. You must then prioritize attractions to maximize your time and prevent conflict.

Conclusion

A vacation will provide you and your partner with an opportunity to strengthen your connection, which can help your relationship to stand the test of time.

However, to enjoy a getaway together, you must choose your transportation wisely, take a short break from each other from time to time, and be willing to compromise. If you follow the above top tips, it is likely you will enjoy a romantic, hassle-free vacation from start to finish.

Kimora Lee Simmons Joins The Unmentionables to Aid Refugees in Greece

Athens, Greece, June 20th, 2018: In an impassioned show of support for today’s World Refugee Day, fashion designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Kimora Lee Simmons and her family are on the ground in Greece with international nonprofit The Unmentionables working with refugees, listening to their stories and learning what can be done to help this vulnerable population. In April of this year, Simmons was named Global Ambassador to The Unmentionables, and together with her family she is helping protect refugees from exploitation and trafficking. Coupled with her business acumen and passion for empowering others, she has emerged as a powerful voice for human rights via her desire to bring awareness to the annual World Refugee Day on Wednesday, June 20th.

Simmons and her family are taking a hands-on approach to giving, dedicating time this summer to migrant and refugee families on behalf of The Unmentionables, who provide training, supplies and education to the refugee community in Greece. Through funds raised on 2017’s Giving Tuesday and a generous personal donation from Simmons, a new resource center for refugees in Athens, Greece was opened earlier this year. Simmons and her family will work from the center and along the migrant path, providing safe and consistent access to basic, important intimate health products as well as sexual health and reproductive education and care to refugees.

According to the International Rescue Committee, Greece, a popular European entry point to migrants escaping perilous conditions in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, currently hosts approximately 50,000 refugees. Earlier this year, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), expressed grave concerns for the safety of women and children in what are known as “hotspots” on Greece’s islands — specifically focusing on overcrowding and lack of hygiene and sanitation. Five camps on Greek islands close to the Turkish coast have surpassed double their capacity as reported by Public Radio International in May 2018. UNICEF warned that in 2017, over 1,800 unaccompanied children were without proper shelter and care in Greece alone. The number of children arriving separated from their families is unprecedented, and currently more than 75% of migrant and refugee children trying to reach Europe via the Central Mediterranean route face appalling levels of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking. EU border agency, Frontex, has reported that human trafficking has been on the rise over the past few years (April 2018, ANSA). Human trafficking is prevalent for refugees, especially on the Central Mediterranean route according to an IOM report— 76% of male and 67% of female respondents answered “yes” to at least one of four human trafficking indicators. The indicators include experience of physical violence, work without payment and imprisonment. 80% of males and 66% of females experienced physical violence of any sort during their journey, while 64% of male and 56% of female were held against their will (2017, IOM).

Trafficking and sexual exploitation is not just limited to girls. Although adolescent boys comprise a substantial majority of the population of unaccompanied and separated children, they are rarely the focus of policy discussions and are consistently left out of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts (2018, PLoS Med). The majority of unaccompanied minors in Greece particularly are boys between ages 14-17, stranded and awaiting decisions on asylum and processing, without adequate shelter or ways to generate income. As a result of increasingly dire circumstances, sexual exploitation of minors is rapidly increasing everywhere from encampments to public spaces, where young boys desperate to survive are exploited by older men for payment.

“It’s incredibly important to me to expose this global crisis and bring attention to the level of deep, humanitarian need that exists to support persecuted people around the world,” comments Simmons. “I am deeply grateful to support World Refugee Day and that I can expose my own children to opportunities to make true, hands-on impact for the greater good. There are so many strife-torn families and separated children that need our collective protection as fellow humans to ensure their safety – how can we turn a blind eye? These kids look a lot like mine – they are young, hopeful, beautiful souls.” World Refugee Day, founded by the UN and held annually every June 20th, was designed to spotlight the plight of migrant refugees fleeing for their lives. A staggering 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home, and among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. Nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution across our world (UNHCR).

Simmons’ partnership with The Unmentionables initially began in 2017, and her role in the organization has steadily grown. She will further her philanthropic commitment to this cause throughout the year, dedicating fundraising efforts to further the impact of the humanitarian global aid The Unmentionables provides to those most in need. Along with her unwavering commitment, Simmons will continue to advocate for refugees at risk of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

_________________________

About The Unmentionables

The Unmentionables is a non-profit organization committed to providing forcibly displaced individuals and communities around the world with safe and consistent access to sexual and reproductive health education, services, protection and empowerment programs, providing them the knowledge, tools, and skills to make well-informed decisions for their futures. Since 2016, The Unmentionables has supplied more than 147,581 intimate health products. The Unmentionables is legally based in the USA and is a tax-exempt charity designated as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Find more information about The Unmentionables on the organization’s website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or by emailing info@theunmentionablesglobal.org.

About Kimora Lee Simmons

Kimora Lee Simmons has had a successful career as a fashion model, creative director, fashion and lifestyle entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is currently founder and CEO of KLS Holdings LLC and the KIMORA LEE SIMMONS designer brand. A native of St. Louis, Mo., Simmons began her career as a fashion model at the early age of 13, when she was personally chosen by well-known fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld as his muse for the house of Chanel in Paris. Her success as a runway model gave her an innate sense of style that propels her as a fashion designer. As a venture capitalist, Kimora manages KLS Holdings and its dynamic portfolio which encompasses fashion, beauty, technology, nutrition and fitness.

Simmons has also made her mark in Hollywood. Her upbeat, fun, and charismatic personality keeps her in demand as a media personality and lifestyle authority. She has hosted E!’s Fashion Police and went on to produce and star in Style Network’s highest rated series, Life in the Fab Lane. An enthusiastic philanthropist and patron of the arts, Simmons lends her time and support to numerous charitable organizations, especially those institutions that target disadvantaged youth. She established the Kimora Lee Simmons Scholarship Fund with New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and FIDM in Los Angeles for students who aspire to pursue careers in all areas of the fashion industry. She also lends her time and resources to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Dress for Success and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, where she is on the board of directors.

As part of her collaboration with The Unmentionables, Simmons and her family traveled to Texas last summer to help with organization’s relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey. She also has helped to fund the distribution of reusable menstrual products through the organization’s partners in Kenya and matched donations on Giving Tuesday, raising a record breaking fundraising amount for The Unmentionables with the help of her large and enthusiastic social network.