Artist Statement: Liberia, West Africa has always been a poor country with a large gap between the haves and the have nots.
It became a country because rich Americans in wanting to rid the United States of as many black people as possible, started a company to send them back to Africa.
The area now known as Liberia, was chosen because it was thought to be a place no one really wanted. Unfortunately for the people who lived there and did want the land, African Americans sent over fought, overcame and subjugated the indigenous population. They then set themselves up as masters modeled on what they had experienced in their lives in the US.
They were supported by The United states and so there came to be two classes in the Country named Liberia; The America Liberians or those descendant from the liberated American slaves and “The Country people” descendent from indigenous peoples.
This great divide went on for a long time until at last the so call country people rose up and threw out the Americo-Liberians in a very bloody revolution. Many different factions went in and out of power and a war raged in the country for 10 awful years. It was finally brought to a close due to the intervention of many brave Liberian women fed up with the chaos and bloodshed in their country.
A smart, well-educated and respected woman names Ellen Johnson, was elected president. Just as things were starting to look hopeful for the Liberian people, the Ebola epidemic broke out.
Having lived in Liberia for almost 3 years before all this happened, I developed a great love and respect for the Liberian people. I especially grew to love “The Country People” and was able to spend time with them in their villages and homes. I found them to be strong, loving, hardworking people. The also had the greatest and most unswerving faith in God I have ever seen.
I was inspired to paint “God’s Tears for Liberia” as a tribute to these wonderful people and all they have endured and overcome. I am sure that God had shed many tears for them.
bio: Kathleen Stark began her art studies at the Corcoran School of Art, the University of Hawaii and private lessons in Athens, Greece. After a long pause, she took up her art studies at the University of Maryland, Frankfurt, Germany and art history and fine art at Northern Virginia Community College. She became a docent at The Corcoran Gallery of Art and studied art history and fine art at the Corcoran School of Art and Design.
Stark is a member of The Fairfax Art League, based in Fairfax, Va. She regularly shows in their two galleries, wining several awards and being accepted into 2 juried shows. She was also accepted into two of The Springfield Art Guild’s juried shows. She has shown in the Corcoran alumni show, many shows with The Pastel Society of Northern Va. and been given a solo show at Northern Virginal Community College, Manassas Campus. Stark was recently awarded the `2017 John Mason Arts Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the Arts in Fairfax by the City of Fairfax Commission on the Arts. She currently showing in The Over 70 show at The Delaplaine Center for the Visual Arts in Frederick, Md.