The artwork above is part of a climate art series I’m working on.
When I was a little girl growing up in Tornado Ally in Oklahoma I remember a tornado came right over our house without touching down, it sounded like a train—it was extremely frightening. Always we were hiding in our “fraidy whole”.
Thus the weather felt very important to me, everyone talked about it constantly. With my families memory of the horror of the Dust Bowl and the tornado’s I feel very close to the “weather”—it’s mystery, power and threat. That’s one of the many reasons I’m drawn to take on this extremely challenging, controversial and important issue.
We seem to feel that we might be able to escape the consequences of our actions, thus “Not Us”. But we need to turn it around and say “Not Us”, we’re not going to accept this and change. It is at its heart a revolution for humanity.
Here’s a poem my mother wrote about a tornado;
On Hearing of the Death of a Fifteen Year Old Girl in a Tornado
They said she was running for shelter
when the wind picked her up and took her
not to the Land of Oz but to an adjacent field.
But perhaps she wasn’t running.
Perhaps she was gazing
at the black, boiling clouds,
hearing the thunder,
feeling the charge
as the lightning lit the windmill
turning wildly out of control,
with the sorrel horse in the corral
running in frightened circles.
And when the wind began to whirl,
she caught it—and it caught her
and in its spiral embrace she thought,
at last I am free of the plains, the dust,
this lousy nowhere place!
But this may not
have been the case. Perhaps,
as they said, she was running for shelter.
Carla Sweet Chlouber © Chlouber Estate