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“In some ways, Ai Wei Wei’s Dragon is the antithesis of rhythm. So round, so fragile. Pastel colors on round circles, circles and angular patterns made of Chinese silk. Silk that looks like paper. Can I touch? Dragon head that hangs low, if you’re 5 ft 2 that’s cool cuz you can crouch underneath.

The dragon is fragmented but united, untied, within a prison cell that yells out freedom. The freedom is in the panoramic view all around, like a penthouse privileging the very few, the calm ocean on a calm Spring day, winding around a circle which is Alcatraz. Circles, circles, circles and flight and bird wings.

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The calla lilies in the garden grounds are the alcatraces, plural for Alcatraz,  a Spanish word for the sea gulls and for the calla lilies themselves. The same word for bird as for flower which gets singularized into one word: Alcatraz:  Al -ca- traz (the “a” pronounced like in the Wizard of OZ), a strong Spanish “A”, as in “Ah”, not “ey”.   A rock, a space in the ocean which is a bay, which is water, which is sound. Undulating colors in chalk, oil or sand.  A bird is all we know.

And yet.”  (Ana Perches)

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“Alcatraz.  Haunted by specters of men caged in a high security federal prison.

When I look over the Bay and see the Golden Gate Bridge and the island of Alcatraz hovering on the water, I imagine a Mediterranean villa, a Buddhist temple…that should have been.   But, Americans built a fort.  To house evil.   To cage damaged men, men society could not fix.

I felt the ghosts of Alcatraz.  Cold, lost, alone.  Forgotten.”  (Maureen Fitzmahan)

 

 

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