Friday, August 07, 2009

"Tall Woman"

My god daughter Olivia Qin Buffett adores this statue in the lobby of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan. Olivia, soon to be 21 months, stops to greet "tall woman," as she calls her, on her way in and out to visit her mother, Baolian, who has been on hospital bed rest for some time--since her membranes ruptured at 26 weeks pregnant.

Olivia is fixated by "tall woman."

Back at home, she climbed the far-side of-the-banister stairs, the staircase is blocked off by a gate, and when she got as high as she could go, announced, her free hand making a sweeping gesture high above us, "tall woman!"


I'm thrilled that my god daughter loves art. I do too. When I was a little girl--two years older than Olivia-- I ran ahead of my family, up all the steps of the Lincoln Monument, and ran down again, ashen, shouting, "It's a statue. It's a statue."

I had hoped to meet Mr. Lincoln in the flesh at the top of all those steps, to jump into his lap. Alas his lap was stone, but I was awed by his grandeur and have adored sculpture ever since--abstract, figurative, massive, tiny.

Olivia is also obsessed with Frida Kahlo. Baolian has a book of photos of Frida, not including her art, which is probably a good thing, since some of those images might be a bit scary for a toddler. They disturb adults, after all.

Prompt: Write about an early memory of encountering art and/or write about a very young person you admire.

(And stay tuned for more about Olivia. I can be shameless in my pride--she's not a blood relative or even somebody I get to see often and therefore wield any influence over. I can take no credit for her genius but I can and will share the wonder of her.)

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