Excerpts From A Poetry Collection By Sharon Lia Robinson, With Photography by Steven R. Johnson
In Rubenesque Landscape, the photographer Steven R. Johnson collaborates with me to portray various aspects of my life and personality.
We began our project in 1997, as a way to publish a book of my poetry with his photography, and to also have an art gallery exhibition.
Having worked in alternative theatre, as a dance student and art model, I experienced a sense of invisibility at times. My self-image was deeply affected in mainstream culture as a result of my body type and I had a sense of being cast out, on many levels.
Learning to honor myself as a woman and as an artist I began exploring many avenues for inner healing and self-actualization. Rubenesque Landscape (poetry and photos) is part of my ongoing endeavor and a book publication is our intention.
I feel that the photos taken by Steve give me the chance to be seen, acknowledged and recognized as an imaginative and interesting person. These photos help me to find and to appreciate my authentic self.
Steve’s awareness as a gifted photographer helps me to explore ways of seeing that may otherwise have been endangered, lost or overlooked.
I believe that now and in the future, our project will be beneficial to many and valuable for broadening social perspectives of beauty.
I feel that Rubenesque Landscape will help change cultural expectations that so deeply damage the self-esteem of people who do not fit into current, fashionable mores of physical beauty and personality.
I am grateful to Steve for his collaboration with me on this project, his dedication to art, and our friendship.
I believe that we need to preserve the mystery of the hidden, the unusual, the other. We need to reclaim our hidden side, our shadow, rather than projecting our unwanted inner aspects onto the despised, rejected outcast. Only in this way, I sense, can we reclaim our wholeness.
The photographs can also speak for themselves, as interpreted by the viewer. The collaboration was shown at Edge of the Sea Gallery (1998-2003), in Port Townsend, Wa.
Many of my experimental plays, short stories and memoir also express the challenge of being a Rubenesque woman and a cultural outsider in American mainstream culture. My artistic body of work, at the deepest level, reflects the desire for tikkun olam, a Hebrew phrase for the healing of the world. Here are a few poems by Sharon Lia Robinson.
The Will To Go Forward Is Connected to the Chance to Move (Inspired by Paul Eluard)
she is born without shadows
her body has no illusions
no mirrors of rejection
where hope discards itself
she is born where love
grows without lies
an intimate forest
stars of flaming black
full-colored crimson white
her own sea weaves
slowly the passage
that first stage pulsation
of trembling free
a red reflection of blind abandon
and safe in her own sea mirror
large and true she can live
full within her own hope
full without shadows
dancing a practical dream
a beautiful dream without losers.
where am I?
by Sharon Lia Robinson
where am I?
in most places
yet I’m not supposed to be
in the eyes of a Greek orange cat
in robin’s nests and tree seedlings