The dynamic work of sculptor Gaylord Ho is instantly recognizable. Emotion oozes from the figures, as they throw their energy into dancerly poses. His female figures twist and twirl, animated and vital. Born in Taiwan, the 66-year-old artist has a fascinating personal history. Growing up as the son of low income farmers, Ho was expected to balance his studies while helping on the rice farm.
Photographer Bechet Benjamin's series I Am Winnie the Pooh reminds us of that classic phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover." By placing well-known characters and superheroes into marginal life or overlooked jobs, Benjamin forces the viewer to confront the various and complex hidden layers that constitute a person's identity. The heroes are being denied celebrity status because they are doing average tasks or are just down on their luck–they have lost the glam that automatically defined their characters.
Benjamin's intention is to stimulate reflection about how people may define "self" based on comparison to others, exclusion, and arrogance. We are reminded that we are all people regardless of what we do for a living or what we wear. Even without a costume, real-life heroes are around us every day. These images are not only thought-provoking but the documentary approach is cleverly composed and executed. Amazing!