My Ice-Bucket Challenge
Title: "My Ice-Bucket Challenge" (2015) Artist: Judith Harway, in collaboration with Sylvie Armstrong Medium: Mixed Media: Watercolor, Pencil, Ink, Love, Time Dimensions: 21.5” x 27.5”; book is 5.5” x 8” Artist’s Statement: My Ice-Bucket Challenge “This project is to spread awareness of ALS, the motor-neuron disease made famous by the 2014 Ice-Bucket Challenge. Since he was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, my brother has been blogging about the wonder and fragility of life (innovationlifelove.org).” My brother, Michael Gollin, is not a blood relative: we were born the same week, and our mothers were best friends. My gregarious, hilarious, athletic friend, with whom I shared every birthday growing up, is the focus of my contribution to Living Waters. ALS causes a person to become increasingly frozen in his or her body, eventually unable to walk or talk; Michael’s blog, composed with a single finger on a specially adapted iPhone, is now his voice. “In a sense, this is my personal Ice-Bucket Challenge…” Pairing quotes from Michael’s blog with winsome illustrations by Sylvie Armstrong, I created a master set of eight cards with instructions on reverse. Each envelope was hand-addressed (“If you find this, it’s for you – Please open!”) and placed surreptitiously in a public spot; for four weeks, I placed 4-30 cards a day, with the total climbing to over 300. This process fostered deep reflection upon a friendship central to my life, as I sought to pour Michael’s words out into the world, and to encourage their flow from person to person. The book documents where that flow began. “Please visit innovationlifelove.org…” and leave a few words of support.