Photo by Adolphe Pierre-Louis

Isabel & Grace Hees

The Carlisle, 3600 Central Ave. SE

When considering the theme, we discussed the actual physical aspects of a window, typically a rectangular shape with corners. We began to explore this shape and examined the emotional and physical reactions it struck within us. Shapes have carried with them symbolic meanings among humans for many hundreds of years and historically, the square has taken on many meanings. Comprised of four sides, it can represent the cardinal directions, or the four elements: air, earth, fire, and water, while its lines and right angles seem to elicit order and rationality. Cross-culturally, the square’s symbolism is often rooted in the material world. In our personal examination, the square seemed to evoke a profound feeling of stasis — its corners feel limiting and confined to criteria that is predefined for us. When thinking about a new future, one that we want for ourselves, the inflexible and rigid nature of the square felt problematic.

As we explored this, some words surfaced that hit us with emotional force: stasis (constricted, pernicious), fixation: (obsessive, intolerant) immutable: (averse to change, imbalance). This word association helped us break down our own underlying feelings, which began to directly coincide with both personal and universal sentiments surrounding the inequities happening in our world today. We uncovered some concrete anxieties about a future that continues on a trajectory viewed through the confines of a rectangular lens. What if we re-imagined the shape of the window into our collective future? What might occur if we chose to embrace a circular shape?

Just like the square, the circle carries symbolic significance — it often represents the cyclical patterns occurring in nature. The circle is inherently universal and spiritual, and for us, it evokes a profound sense of oneness and calm. Our vision of the future is one that encapsulates the qualities associated with a circular shape: we envision an equal balance of feminine and masculine energies, inclusivity, perceptiveness to change, the free movement of people, enhanced wonderment and curiosity, compassion and kindness to ourselves and others, and a re-connection to our earth. We visualize the more feminine qualities of leadership not only employed, but embraced — at all-level positions of power. We imagine that increased collaboration, communication, compassion, and a willingness to be vulnerable, might begin to cultivate a better and more just world for all.
In our separate journeys as artists, we have individually been drawn to the circle and explored it in our work. We are a duo with backgrounds in printmaking and ceramics and we’d like to use these mediums of expression in our installation to bring our concept to life. Throughout history, the circle has been used to encapsulate sacred spaces, a place in which one can feel safe — it beckons the viewer to be drawn in, and included in whatever message the center holds. During a time of much uncertainty and fear, we intend to incorporate the circle in our installation to provoke these feelings in the viewer and invite them to experience its protective and unifying qualities.