11-11-11 turned out to be a lucky day.
I received a voicemail from the cafe I am showing at saying a woman came in to purchase 7 pieces of my artwork. Immediately I thought I must have misunderstood the voicemail, only to find out I hadn't! What...7 pieces!
The Message from Swaziland series truly was a labor of love. It was also a very therapuetic expression after my journey to Swaziland for AIDS Walk Africa in 2008 with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation....who do amazing work to eliminate pediatric AIDS around the world. This series of work was truly a purging of emotion on canvas. The series is full of my photography, images of the amazing Swazi people I encountered. A nation where 33% of the population has been infected by HIV/AIDS. It is staggering. And yet amidst such devastating statistics are people full of hope. The series of works expressed both the pain and the hope for change, hope for the future free of pediatric AIDS.
I have been able to share the works on a few occassions at different venues. I always received such a beautiful response to the works, a response that affirmed that the message of the Swazi people was recieved. The intention of the series really is to communicate the Swazi people's message. And while sharing the message my hope was also to makes sales to return 33% of the sales to the EGPAF.
I have donated a few pieces in the past couple years, but hadn't sold any. It made me wonder if I just had the wrong venue, needed a different audience, or perhaps it was because the works are socially conscious. It also makes you question your work. But I also went back to the connection I feel to these pieces, how certain I am that they are meaningful, powerful and beautiful. I kept hoping that if I was able to get the works "out there" that someone would connect to the works enough purchase one and to bring one home.
It hardly seems possible that today one person would purchase 7 pieces. It seems unreal.
I can hardly wait to meet the person purchasing these works. I was told that she was on sabbatical the past few months and is purchasing many of these as gifts to people who supported her. So, I am incredibibly curious about the buyer.... to purchase this many of one series there must be a specific connection to the imagery or issue. At least that is what I am assuming. I hope to know more on Sunday when she is there to pick up all the works.
It certainly is affirming to know someone out there connected that much to the works to purchase them. But it also has me asking myself.....how do I value my work? Have I been waiting for someone to validate me? I think I have.....but it sure feels good. It is something to think about.