Launch of Martha Jackson Jarvis Blog
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 10:18AM
MARTHA JACKSON JARVIS STUDIO in Maiden Voyage /Tajikistan


Today marks the maiden voyage of the Martha Jackson Jarvis Blog. Welcome to the journey. I view this blog as an extraordinary opportunity to share a window into the process and adventure of creative thought as I navigate the waters of my vision and place on Earth as an artist.

We begin our journey today in Dushanbe, Tajikistan...

June 2008

I was fortunate to visit Tajikistan from June 5, to June 16, 2008 as a Cultural Envoy Artist for the US State Department.

Each day was strategically filled with intense activity and interaction with artists and people of Tajikistan.

Public lectures at the Bactria Cultural Center and the Art Institute were well attended, each having a diverse audience of artists, art critics, students, arts administrators and lay people of Dushanbe. Both lectures were presented as a comprehensive introduction to a contemporary artist’s point of view on public and environmental art. I shared images of rural Virginia where I was born and the southern landscape that had influenced my work. Digital photographs of previously executed works and public sculpture installations were presented and discussed. Elements of artistic organization and marketing were discussed in relationship to the world market and possible future contributions by artists.

Mumtoz Kamolzoda, a young, gifted video artist, provided language translation. Her depth and understanding of art facilitated seamless translation and transition from English to Russian and in some cases Tajik for the audiences. Master classes were conducted at the Art Institute and the Art College’s Summer Retreat in Varzob. Each master class was quite different, reflecting the character and accomplishment of the participating students.

Master Class at Art College's Summer house in VarzobSite Installation created at Varzob

Bundles of fuel and symbolic fire are spread among the cooling treesThe crowning achievement of the Tajikistan journey was  the creation of the Collaborative Public Art Project entitled, SHADE.  SHADE was created at the Bactria Cultural Center and opened as a public exhibition on June 15, 2008. This extraordinary experience of collaboration and exchange between artists was a landmark event. The collaboration brought together multi levels of age groups, both young Tajik artists and mature artists. 

 We began our collaboration with a day long trip into the countryside outside of Dushanbe to explore a village and mountain trails along the Varzob River. Gathering materials and experiences of encounters with native Tajik villagers, we experienced the generosity and authenticity of the people. We observed the closeness to nature and the seamless integration of architecture and the natural stone covered landscape. The stone and clay dwellings became habitat and shelter for humans and domestic animals. The symbiotic relationships were apparent in the recycling of animal dune for fuel and insulation, and in the yield of milk products and meat source. The village seemed quite self sufficient in providing the basic necessities of life off the grid of modern consumption.  

For each artist, this was a defining moment of inspiration and a look into the ingenuity of past history and a simultaneous look forward into the future, with this revelation and insight, we created SHADE .

SHADE is a collective sculpture project that explores the rhythmic systems of Earth as they collide with man made elements and reckless materials in the environment. It is the synthesis of the personal and the collective vision of artists as we journey across bridges, over rivers, along trails, around stones, through shelters, and climbing vines, to investigate dynamic systems at play in the eco- system.

The genesis of the collective work sprang from a chance encounter with a young Tajik boy along a mountain trail. Covered in lush green leaves, he balanced a huge bundle of fresh cut branches to "make shade for my house". The boy's small but magnanimous gesture of making shade became the metaphor for survival and futuristic cooling of the Earth. It symbolizes the global necessity for care giving to our collective home.            

Collectively, the eyes of artists look back through time and forward in time. It is through this God given window of observation that we see our survival linked to very ancient and basic ways of living collectively and conscientiously on Earth.

SHADE reaches across cultural borders, across time, and into the hearts of man.

This momentous exchange of ideas and culture made possible by the American Embassy of Dushanbe champions the validity of communication and exchange between people worlds apart to discover differences and synaptic points in culture.

The process of creating a meaningful public art project with artists of Tajikistan has left an indelible inspiration and impact on our lives as artists. The intellectual dialogue, the expression of experimentation and sense of accomplishment,

established by participating artists will continue to reverberate having resounding influence in the artistic community of Dushanbe and Washington, DC. 




SHADE reaches across cultural borders, across time, and into the hearts of man.

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