15 March 2010

Found Art- Leeana Tankersley

Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places

Debut author Leeana Tankersley constructs a literary collage of memories and mementoes from living in the Middle East during the Iraq War in her travel memoir, Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places (Nov. 2009). She reflects on discovering beauty in a foreign land by weaving together her experiences living in the Persian Gulf for a year.

After marrying a Navy SEAL, Tankersley moved over 8,000 miles away from her home in San Diego to Bahrain where her husband was stationed. She retraces her steps through the Middle East, and she recalls the subtle changes in herself that left her utterly transformed. Somewhere between bartering in a souq, a Middle Eastern market, and wearing a borrowed abaya, an Islamic overgarment, to tour the Grand Mosque, Tankersley found a profound beauty in the unknown that sunk beneath her skin.

Found Art is an insightful collection of stories that Tankersley crafts into a literary piece of artwork. With an artist’s eye she combines bits of memories and trinkets – a handwritten note from Kuwait, a braid of fringe from a Persian rug, a Navy SEAL Trident – to create her own piece of Found Art. She celebrates what most would overlook – a receipt from the Russian-Georgian restaurant on Louisiana Street, a bit of basting thread – to piece together a work of unexpected beauty.

“Writing, for me, is often about two things,” says Tankersley, “creative processing and authentic giving. The book has been my way of working through, and then salvaging, the bits and pieces of Bahrain. In that sense, I wrote it for myself, so that I would never forget. Also, I wrote the book for those who are feeling lost, as I have felt so often. Ideally it offers the honest gifts of permission and validation and hope and beauty.”

Found Art is a travel memoir, but in it Leeana travels to surprising places. Traveling is rarely only about the terrain, the language, the food, or the mode of transportation, is it? It's not so much about the history and culture of the places we find ourselves as it is about what being in that kind of place brings out of us. In this book Leeana travels to her needs, her insecurities, her bedrock of faith, her successes, her crutches and her props. She travels closer to her God and to her true self- all between Bahrain and San Diego.

This is the best kind of travel memoir.

* As part of the book tour for Found Art, I’m hosting a creative response project for folks who've already enjoyed the book. Will you play along?

Option 1: In Found Art Leeana talks about practicing silence.

The risk of sitting in the silence, as we all know, is what we will find there. (pg. 56)

Profound and slightly scary all at the same time, isn’t it?

Practice silence for one hour... or more if you're able. Is silence normally something you seek out or tend to resist? Create a collage as an artistic response based upon what you learned through silence.

Option 2: Create a collage of your life. Use words and pictures from magazines, odds and ends from around your house, and original paintings or drawings or writings. Don’t worry about creating something perfect. Just be true to yourself and choose items that particularly resonate with you, even if you don’t know exactly why.

I’d love to see how you are moved to create something representative of your own journey, so if you take up either of these challenges please leave a link in my comment box and we’ll share our journeys together.

* For those of you who haven’t read Found Art yet, I have a free copy to giveaway. Woohoo for free books! To enter the drawing, leave your name in the comments section along with a phrase that describes the “foreign land” you are traveling through at this point in your life.

Here's mine, represented in the collage below. "My Best Friend No Longer Believes the Truth of the Scriptures" and "Training to Run a 5K." To read a further explanation of my collage, click here.

I'll draw the winner's name and post it right here in one week- March 22nd.

My free review copy of Found Art was provided by Zondervan.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That book sounds fabulous! Your collage is amazing!

11:14 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Ooops, I accidentally posted this in the other one...

Hi Erin! It's Becky, Chris's sister!!!

I'm going to enter to win your book giveaway! This book sounds amazing!
A phrase about my foreign land....Hmmmm...

How about:

5 feet in, 12 feet under

LOL...not as straight forward as the two you shared, is it? ;-)

LOVE your collage!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Art Epicurean said...

I love how art connects people throughout the world - overcoming language, culture, etc. I too am artist who hopes to connect people to sharing their creativity with meals that are inspired by their art. I found the book beautiful!

8:32 AM  

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