Updated: Mar 31
But they aren't! And since everyone has different criteria about what makes a place interesting I wanted to offer an overview of the 3 main sites I visited in case you ever go yourself. BTW, Did you know Sicliy has more Greek ruins than Greece? It's True!
Valle Dei Templ - Agrigento
Winner: Best Dogs
Best Bang for the Buck
Smells like Rosemary
Five Temple Sites in various states of existence along a 2 km road makes you feel like you've stepped back in time. You aren't actually in a valley but along a Ridge overlooking the Mediterranean a few miles away. It's probably the easiest site to navigate since the Temple flows evenly along the road and while there is some incline it's gentle so it doesn't feel like you are mountain climbing (cough, cough Segesta).
If you only go one place this is your best bet for sheer volume of buildings in an easy to digest layout.
Winner: Biggest Ruins
Made me cry
Smells like Fresh cut hay and something floral and spicy I couldn't identify
Selinunte is definitely a little out of the way. It's about an hour and 40 minutes from Palermo and the same from Agrigento. There are basically two sites in the Archeological Park separated by a small valley. There is a shuttle between the two. I don't know how to convey the sheer immensity of the scale of this complex. My biggest problem with Selinunte is that I did not give myself enough time there. I had just under 3 hours and could have spent 5. Apparently the beach is also nice to walk along. If I were to pick a favorite this would be mine.
Winner: Best Flowers
Made me want to sing "Climb Every Mountain"
Smelled like farms in Europe in spring, a mix of smoke, manure and something floral.
Segesta îs the most accessible yet also feels the most isolated. Sitting in a valley amidst farms just 45 minutes outside of Palermo this is a super peaceful spot. Like Selinunte there are two sections and a shuttle to take you to the more remote one. Alas, I decided to walk and managed to log 70 floors on my fitness tracker for the effort. Still I am glad I did it because the flowers and visits were stunning and I wouldn't have appreciated them in a shuttle. The temple itself is considered the finest example of Greek ruins in Sicily, maybe the world and the second location boasts an amphitheater with a stunning view that is still used today.
In the past two months I've spend a fair amount of time thinking of how our new reality shapes my work. For the past 4 years it feels as thought we have fought unceasingly to stop an erosion of the most basic of rights. We now have time for a more balanced life. We must continue to advocate for progress but we also need to nourish our souls. For everyone that looks a little different. For me, it means a little less Sheroes and reintroducing my Mayflower series.
As I have started doing this I keep thinking of the tradition of singing 'Bread and Roses' at my Alma Mater, Mount Holyoke College during graduations Laurel Parade. Mount Holyoke is the oldest Seven Sister in America, and as such taught an appreciation for the suffrage movement. The phrase 'Bread and Roses' originated from a speech given by Helen Todd in 1910. In her speech Todd proclaimed, “Not at once; but woman is the mothering element in the world and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life's Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life, music, education, nature and books, shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country, in the government of which she has a voice.”
(Image is from the last time I was at MHC for graduation. The photo is of Seniors placing a Laurel Rope on our founders grave. It is during the Laurel Parade we all sing 'Bread and Roses')
I feel like this encapsulates my work right now and I hope everyone enjoys it. I leave you with the lyrics of the song by James Oppenheimer that we sing at Mount Holyoke.
As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day, A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses, For the people hear us singing, "Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses."
As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men— For they are women's children and we mother them again. Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes— Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread; Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew— Yes, it is Bread we fight for—but we fight for Roses, too.
As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days— The rising of the women means the rising of the race— No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes— But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.
After the 2016 election I felt the need to focus my art on what was happening in America. What started as a month of daily portraits turned into a mission of creating a visual, positive way to amplify and celebrate women in politics.
Sheroes has also always had an element of 'Stronger Together' to it, which is why it was a big decision to feature Vice President elect Kamala Harris on her own in this years calendar. It was also a big risk, since the calendar was done prior to the election and there was no guarantee the election would go in our favor. But I realized that regardless of the outcome, I needed to celebrate this historic run. It was also a deeply personal decision since I have been a fierce supporter of the Senator since the beginning.
My only wish is that I had been doing this kind of work in 2016 and I could have supported Hillary Clinton in this way. At the time it never occurred to me that I might have a voice in this story. I hope my journey helps others find their own voice and power.