This is the story of Ladianne Henderson. She is on a hero’s journey, riding a white horse, brandishing a sword rescued from a dragon’s lair and discovering her true purpose. On May 21, Ciel Gallery will host an event for this incredible artist and “The World Was Me”, a collaborative project between Henderson and renowned novelist and poet Laura Kasischke. But that is the story’s ending.
“Once I was as large as any creature could be,” began the poem. Henderson stumbled across it after coffee one morning on a poetry website. “I ended up in tears,” she explained. “I read it again and thought it would make an awesome picture book.” So Henderson emailed the author with a proposal.
To her surprise, the author agreed.
Only after creating a illustrated story board and submitting it to Kasischke did Henderson take time to investigate the author. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. A Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. A novelist with movie credits. Someone Henderson might have though twice about approaching with a spontaneous email. But isn’t unflinching, unquestioning bravery part of a hero’s story?
“This project is about motherhood,” says Henderson, a mother of two. “As an only child, while my own mother was very ill, I wrote a personal mission statement. I faced down my failures as a mom and embraced my successes. There is connectedness in care-taking and in needing care. This is what gives us the possibility of being genuine and vulnerable.” Vulnerability was the “aha” for Henderson on her hero’s journey. “Bravery isn’t the challenge,” she says. “Vulnerability is. My moat is far out. If people are allowed to cross the moat alive, we will be friends for life.”
Supporters of the project include both individuals and companies such as Art Aspects and Lake Norman Dentistry.
“This book and poem are about the power of being human - strong, caretakers, givers, nurturers and the humanity of needing care. There is as much grace in being cared for as there is in caring for others,” Henderson says.
“…this is how small the world used to be when everything else in the world was me,” the poem ends. And our hero discovered vulnerability, and published a book for the world to share.
Join Ciel Gallery on May 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm for a pop-up exhibition by Henderson and a reading of the poem that inspired the book by Kasischke. Funds raised at this event and are tax-deductible will go toward the publication of “The World Was Me.”
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