Ishmael and the Rising Tide of Memories French red marble, grey marble base, glass tiles, plastic lenses etched with a poem.
53 x 10.25 x 22 inches (marble sculpture only)
A Continuing Discussion about the Artworks of Sculptor TJ Mabrey
The title,” Ishmael”, was suggested by Texas poet and teacher at the University of California at Berkeley, John Campion.  The name “Ishmael” was chosen for it reflected my interest in nature and concern for the environment.

The sculpture is a very long fish, perhaps a whale, with a male figure clinging to its back. Is the figure climbing on, hanging on, falling off or letting go? Who will be the victor? The figure could represent the narrator of Herman Melville’s classic novel, MOBY DICK, which was among the first to discuss man’s greed and dominance over nature (the sea). Only Ishmael survives to tell the greatest American tale (Melville’s) of the 19th century.

Likewise, the name could reflect the narrator with that name, in a book of the same name, ISHMAEL, by contemporary writer Daniel Quinn. Though the narrator of Mr. Quinn’s book is a gorilla, the underlying theme is the same as that in Melville’s novel, which is man’s attempt to dominate nature and the possible consequences.

The global, novel virus, has kept us all in our homes for months, giving us pause to consider how we do things, how we relate to each other, and how our actions create lingering consequences. Our lives seem to be in chaos. So too the destructive weather patterns created by global warming.

Perhaps it is time to stop clinging to old beliefs, old memories of how things used to be, and have always been done. Our tendency is to hang on, but perhaps it's time to let go.
My job AS AN ARTIST is to imagine.
    But, I can’t imagine the holocaust.
    I can’t imagine shooting a child.
    I can’t imagine the killing of animals for sport.
    I can’t imagine oligarchy/autocracy replacing democracy.
    I can’t imagine over 4,000,000 people dead from the Coronavirus.
I can't imagine holding onto beliefs, customs, and old habits
that are killing us, the planet, our world, our people.
It is time to let go.
Let go, and let's make a stab at ways our society
- government, healthcare, the economy, our lifestyles and more -
can change for the better.
In 1991, Mr. Quinn won Ted Turner's Tomorrow Fellowship Award, established to encourage authors to seek "creative and positive solutions to global problems."  Ishmael has been in print continuously since its publication in 1992 and has been made available in more than 25 languages.