Arlene Elizabeth


— Arlene Elizabeth —


2018; Origami cranes (1892) on canvas; 33” x 32.25” (42” 42”)

FLOTUS, Arlene Elizabeth

“Hovering between detail and abstraction, my mosaics excite the imagination with their unique and obsessive qualities. Most importantly however, the art embodies love and compassion and makes a connection with people very quickly, opening the door for empathy; the human “yes”.

My process begins with a desire to aid in providing visibility to causes that support human and civil rights: issues that affect culture and society, locally and globally. Motivated by the need to transform my feelings of immobilization into a positive action, I began to construct a way to explore and express my internal architecture instead of superficially manipulating my external one. My premise is simple; before you can be heard you must be seen, and art is a powerful tool for achieving this goal and advancing understanding.

Combining direct hand-processes with computer technology, I construct mosaics using origami peace cranes as my medium. After meeting with individuals and advocates of the issue or subject to be explored, a piece is forged, often with hands-on non-artist participation. Inviting people both young and old involved with the subject to learn origami, I find that many, especially children, are already aware of the symbolism of the crane and have already folded some, though not as part of a communal art effort. At the conclusion of this empowering journey, the resulting pieces of art not only convey messages, but also create a connectedness that speaks to what it means to be human and an essential part of a big picture.

Initially possessing the feel of quilts upon first viewing, the mosaics encourage sensory memory triggers that elicit familiarity and comfort. This association helps to express ideas and issues in a non-polemical fashion to new or otherwise uninitiated audiences. Physically, the mosaics require the viewer to literally gain some perspective in order to see the larger picture, as the images they depict are slightly out of focus when one is too close. This blurriness and perspective combined form a unique device for understanding the digestive process of memory and history.”

Artist statement taken from artist’s website:


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