All the Lamentations explore notions of pietà in the aftermath of 9/11 and the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These drawings ritualize the act of mourning for the loss of life, of innocence, of trust, and even mental health through the symbolic use of materials and repetitive use of words. Six foot rolls of Okawara unfurl to reveal multi-figure compositions in relationship to flags, Islamic prayer carpet motifs, and quotes from popular songs. Lyrics by Courtney Love, Linkin Park, Chemical Brothers and others are repeated like supplications in ancient prayer forms. The Mourning Embroideries sublimate sorrow through the economic use of intimate physical materials– hair and tears on military netting. Small clusters of hair define soldiers and join single strands to create explosive debris, dust clouds, and lyrics. No matter how full the composition, the embroidered contours are practically invisible from a distance– a visual parallel to private yet communal sorrow. Pure, simple, restrained.

The Lamentations