Completing our feature on the theme of “An Unexpected Visitor”, Anna Aysea shares the artwork of David Chatt and his 108 Meditations in Saffron, which is a very unusual and insightful take on the litter that we leave behind.
Last week as I did a search for something completely different, the algorithm served a most irrelevant image which grabbed my attention. There was something very familiar about what looked like a series of neatly arranged random objects and yet I could not determine what I was looking at. Following intuition, I clicked and unexpectedly found “108 Meditations in Saffron” by American artist David Chatt.
I’d like to share the artist’s statement about the experience which inspired him to turn trashed objects into glass-beaded jewels as a form of contemplation :
“A few years ago I made it my habit to walk every day. I was living in a large city and couldn’t help noticing how much garbage littered my path. I lamented this fact, and wondered, with more than a little sanctimony, what kind of person throws trash to the ground? My indignation increased with each bottle or discarded wrapper. As my regime progressed, I gained a begrudging interest in these objects of contempt. I noticed that there are socioeconomic patterns to street garbage. One neighborhood’s garbage is not the same as the next. I learned the places where homeless people sit and drink. I was fascinated when visiting Kyoto, Japan to discover a city where not one speck of litter could be found. I began to see the detritus in the streets where I live as a record of sorts and even looked forward to what I would find each day. I also began to see items that had not existed until recent years and wondered what a collection of litter from today would look like in ten, twenty or one hundred years. Inevitably, I began to pick up objects that appealed to me. When I moved to a neighborhood that was less inclined toward litter, I found that I was disappointed not to see so many of these messages from my community along my path. It felt unfriendly. My own transformation complete, I wanted to show this work in a way that the wonderment I felt for these objects could be shared. I think of my walks as meditations and decided to showcase my collection by covering each found item in saffron beads the color of the robes of the Buddhist monks I had seen in Southeast Asia. I collected and covered one hundred and eight items.”
Visit the artist’s website for more inspiring and meticulous beadwork