Heidi Hardin’s Statement

It is my belief that the peoples of the earth exist within a web of natural, spiritual, and social forces (much as individual planets are guided by the steady laws of nature) that both hold them together and keep them apart. Though we are separate individuals, nations, cultures, and faiths, we are one in our humanity. The issues of faith, religion, divine and natural force(s)—as reflected in humanity, have fascinated me from my first efforts as an artist painting the seasonal rituals of my own family (Oklahoma is OK/Seasonal Rituals 1959). Other vectors that have fueled my art making for the past twenty years include the pursuit of the American dream (Stardust; Light in August; Incantations/Books 1 & 2: Parsifal and Self Discipline) and the notion of manifest destiny in the American psyche (The Sound and the Fury; Swan Paintings; Family Values). American icons as diverse representatives of humanity are reflected in my latest series of artworks about the season rituals of my "larger" family—my friends, neighbors, business associates and in some cases, strangers from countries around the world (The Human Family Tree/A Walk Through Paradise…).

The Human Family Tree/A Walk Through Paradise… is the first of a larger series of planned installations that will include the study of families in America who are followers of eight of the major world religions: Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam and Primalism. The inspiration for this life project, or birth vision, resulted from my own spiritual quest and the study of myth and religion, particularly through the work of Joseph Campbell and Houston Smith, my interaction with the artworks from countries around the world at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the intimate moments I have shared with the ethnically diverse members of San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point community--especially the senior men and women who shared their lives with me and the hundreds of children to whom I teach art each week in the community schools.


All images © Heidi Hardin 2001