Monday, November 19, 2007

Valiente Award goes to MEL CHIN

Every year, Voices Breaking Boundaries (nonprofit arts organization) honors artists who have shown consistent courage and integrity in their artwork. This year’s recipient of the Valiente (Courage) Award was artist Mel Chin.

Revival Field, Mel Chin, 1990

On Saturday, November 17th, 2007, The Station Museum was packed with artists and artists supporters; all fans of Mel Chin’s work. As we listened to James Harithas latest trip to Iraq, and his encounters with some of the artists there, Mel questioned his own Courage Award: now those people do have courage! Well, we all do our part, I guess, but is it ever enough? There were many people in that room that night that I know for a fact have continue, very courageously, doing their work with consistency and integrity. In a way, it was kind of a familiar feeling. We see each other at different events, usually with a drink in one hand and a plate of food on the other. I see people I admire, like Sehba Sarwar and Marcela Descalzi, co-founders of Voices Breaking Boundaries, Emily Todd, who is now the Mayor’s Assistant for Cultural Affairs, Mark Yzaguirre, Board president of VBB, who I always see from afar-at anything that matters- and Michael Peranteau and Oskar Sonnen, who very inconspicuously make sure that everything that really matters actually happens. -and that is just the people I know personally.

I know that they are all overworked and overbooked, but is it ever enough? I don’t want to go into a horrifying storytelling of the atrocities that the artists in Iraq are enduring; so let me leave it at that. I just look forward to sharing my glass of wine in one hand and the plate of food on the other with the Iraqi artists that will be coming soon to show their work at the Station Museum. I would love to be able to make them laugh so hard that we might even share a tear or two. Now, that would be courageous! But for now, I raise my glass for a toast: the Mayor of Houston has declared November 17, to be Mel Chin Day! -as reported by elia arce

Valiente Award Recipients:

Farnoosh Moshiri 2005-06
Ruben Martinez 2004-05

Voices Breaking Boundaries’ Valiente (Courage) Award was created in 2004.