Well, sort of. In June, President Obama visited Pittsburgh, and while there, he visited Techshop Pittsburgh, and while THERE, he visited Naked Geometry… for a little while. The advance team saw my work in the shop, said the President would enjoy it, and requested I present to him. I miraculously passed the background check, and a few days later, was standing nervously as he walked towards me.
We spent 5 minutes together. I showed him how the laser-cutter works. I showed him my artwork. We spoke about a few things. I told him I was interested in the areas where religion and science agree, and I thought community shops were important. Then I asked for a job. He was attentive, intelligent, inquisitive, kind & funny. I’m smiling in nearly all of the photos because he kept cracking jokes.
I have my critiques of the man. I’m not a fan of the drone strikes, not a fan of his capitulation on various domestic issues, not a fan of some of his appointments. But while it’s maybe hard to admit, I’m a fan of the man. If anything, I think he’s a prisoner of his office. All power corrupts, or rather can be said to be corrupted… especially any power that necessitates violence to perpetuate.
I made him a gift. It’s a simple ornament I call “Prayer for Peace.” I don’t really pray much, myself, as I feel like requests for improvement are best directed inwards. If there is a God, it should be answering the prayers of children orphaned in war zones, the truly needy. In this case, though, my prayer went outwards… to President Obama, sure, but to everyone with power, everyone reading this.
The earth is a spectacular gift we all receive. Trees change CO2 into oxygen, the sun warms us and an incredible variety of life flourishes nearly everywhere. We get caught up in our petty differences, hatred and ignorance but most of us are incredibly lucky. It’s foolish to squander the incredible possibilities that surround us. It sounds naive, but I don’t feel any justice without first cultivating love.
Prayer for peace features a 12-sided “phyllotaxis” made up of “leaves” containing the “phi” ratio. This symbolizes plants and animals… chlorophyll is a 12-sided molecule in all plants, and the source of all life on Earth, and “phi” is a very common ratio found in animals, especially on human hands and faces. There is a picture of Earth from space and an infinity symbol, a prayer, a wish, a sigil of abundance.
We have enough on this planet for all of us to live, to eat, be sheltered and be with each other in community and growth. We don’t need to fight each other to be heard, we need to calm ourselves and simply listen. Nature has existed long before us and has secrets to share. When we pay attention to the cycles of nature & our inner wisdom, paths to sustainability and creative existence appear.
My gift was a simple, probably futile gesture, but it’s all I could do. Why pie this man in the face? As far as the public was concerned, he was there to support shared workspaces, something I feel is universally beneficial to communities. Why not simply hold space for 5 minutes with the man? Instead I shared a small piece of art, a little slice of my perspective, a tiny prayer for peace. May it be.
( He looks un-impressed here, but his aide said he asked to see the gift later at lunch. Who knows? 🙂 )