Chashama Project at The Donnell Library
New York, NY
Photographic Duratrans, Diorama
16’ x 32’
Photo credit Cathy Carver
Displayed behind bulletproof glass, Kanga, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet and Pooh had called the Children’s Reading Room on 53rd Street their home since 1988 when A.A. Milne’s publisher E. P. Dutton donated the original dolls to the library. These tattered toys found themselves at the center of a hot, political debate ten years later as British and New York politicians publicly fought over the rightful home for Winnie and his friends. Member of British Parliament Gwyneth Dunwoody claimed that she “detected sadness” in the inanimate objects and requested that they be returned to Great Britain, only to have New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani respond with a "leaked" conversation that the bear told him, "I want everyone in Britain and America to know that we're very, very happy here in New York City." Though couched in terms of innocence and playtime, this debate literally stuffed these anthropomorphized animals with issues that spoke more to history, diaspora, and world powers than to honey pots and The Hundred Acre Wood.
Installed in the two large sets of windows across from MoMA to the West of the main entry of the former Donnell Library is a translucent photographic image depicting magnified close-ups of honeycombs overlaid with the cracks and lines of shattered glass that radiate outwards from a gaping bullet hole. At the center of the opening is an image of the original Piglet, which viewers will be able to see when they approach the windows and peer within.