It Is Better to Bend Than to Break by artist Rose Lange

“It Is Better to Bend Than to Break”
Mosaic artwork created by Rose Lange
Waukesha Reads Artwork inspired by the book “When the Emperor Was Divine”

Artist Statement
I found it exciting and intimidating to be asked to create a work of art inspired by a book.
Exciting, because I would be creating a work whose photo would be appearing in print for many to view… Intimidating, for much the same reason.
Also, just as artwork speaks differently to each of us, so does literature.

Here is how “When the Emperor Was Divine” spoke to me:

I started this work by taking very detailed notes about the images that were conjured while reading the book from settings, to characters and details of their upset lives. The time the family spent in the internment camp had a great impression on me which is why the composition is set in a “desert with jagged blue mountains”; “moon, bright and round”; and “wild horses galloping in the moonlight” with a “stone Buddha with head upturned, laughing” centrally located in the foreground.

I collaged the postage stamps on the desert floor because I enjoy up-cycling ephemera and because of the significance of the letters Papa would write.

My mosaics have been compared to “I Spy” photos that have trinkets and toys hidden in them. Sprinkled throughout the mosaic are details from the story: the father’s watch, chopsticks, binoculars, white dog, train, the key on the chain, a man with a rake, monopoly houses, machine gun, a lone tortoise wandering in the desert.

One of the things that spurs me on as an artist is the hope that the viewer will find something in my work that inspires or strikes a nerve. It is my aim that this piece plays that role for the Waukesha Reads community.