In her dramatic installation, Sanctuary Part Two: The Rafts, artist Pam Douglas presents refugees escaping by sea across the gallery floor from a 36-foot abstract mural of a devastated land. Pam began Sanctuary in 2019 as a visceral response to refugees seeking asylum on our border and around the world. In 2020 the series grew into a metaphor for all of us adrift in the winds of change.
In Sanctuary Part One (2019, https://youtu.be/D3lgFun3L8Q) life-size figures travel by land. Now Part Two is travel by sea. Pam built handmade rafts from simulated logs and tree bark. These 12 rough crafts – some afloat, some capsized — each 4 to 5 feet high, fly canvas “sails” where Pam lovingly drew their passengers in charcoal.
Remnants of daily life such as a clothes hanger in “Grandma Tried to Dry Our Clothes” make these lives immediate. In “Almost There” a mother cradles her sleeping baby’s foot. In “Prayer for Safe Passage” a lone girl draped in a coffee bean bag conveys hope. The ordinary is coupled with the courageous in the raft characters as it is in all of Sanctuary.
Pam’s work was featured in the Los Angeles Art Show at the Convention Center, January 2019 by the Los Angeles Art Association. She has shown at the California African American Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The entire Sanctuary exhibit including Part Three (Shelter) is scheduled for January 2021.