Flowers. Not Bombs
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Jan Rose Kasmir, photos by Marc Riboud, 1967
Peace Mandalas
Peace Mandalas
We call the 60’s and 70’s the Protest Years. The word protest has become so overused in our language it has lost any sense of relevance or meaning. And yet I am always struck anew at the courage shown by those who protest in meaningful ways, where the spirit will not budge despite the opposition. I think of the student who stood before the tank in Tiananmen Square, but it also took strength for Jan Rose Kasmir to stare down a guardsman while holding a daisy in front of the Pentagon in 1967. This use of flower as symbol was echoed again by Allison Krause when she shouted to a guardsman the day before she was shot and killed at Kent State, "Flowers, not bullets”.

With this body of work I felt I needed to retain some semblance of control in a world seemingly out of control. I have taken the archival photographs of the bomb test 'Truckee' and transformed it into something beautiful. By transforming symbols of destruction into sacred symbols my hope is that out of chaos can come positive regeneration, turning the profane into the sacred.
I think of bombs as metaphor. Bombs are the spiteful words we can throw at our families and communities. They are what incite hatred, racism and bigotry. Physical bombs destroy whatever they touch, yet as an act of nature they can be images of beauty, fireworks gone awry. And bombs, like words, continue their destructive path long after the explosion.
Beginning on July 16 1945, twenty days before Hiroshima and ending on November 4, 1962, the United States conducted 216 nuclear tests in the atmosphere and in the oceans, while the Soviet Union conducted 217. After both countries signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty on August 5th 1963, tests continued underground. The United States would go on to perform a total of 1054 nuclear tests and the Soviet Union, 969 separate explosions.