Fear Not. Together.

Fear Not., 2019, graphite and erasure on paper, 42 x 72”

We live in a world that impresses fear upon humanity. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the future. Fear of facing it alone. Fear of not belonging. Fear of not having enough. Fear of not being enough. Fear of others, even though we’ve seen the profound impact that we can make together. Fear of our own potential—perhaps because the potential is so great, that our hearts can barely handle the thought of what we could become.

Even so, we continue thriving in a culture that strives to instill fear within us. How do we rebuke the lies with which fear tempts us? We remind ourselves of the truths that have been continually revealed to us in life’s unfoldment: That we are not going through this alone. That we have inherited the strength that will push us onward. That this hope will indeed sustain us. 

Acknowledging our fears can nudge us into the discomfort of facing the cause of our distresses before thrusting us into action. Although it can cripple, fear has another potential: it can lead us into resolution and revolution if we will recognize that our desire to flourish is far greater than the fear presents itself to be.

Even after being erased by multiple hands, the residue of fear remains, like a faded scar that reminds us of the afflictions that we’ve overcome. Perhaps the physical act of quieting the density of the fear might somehow free ourselves from it, calling forth the courage that resides within us—this same courage that was carried by those who came before us.


Fear Not. workshop at Harvard University. Participants made personal projects to bring home with them as reminders of their courage over fear. Together, we filled in the fear, taking notice of the tension in our fingers, our forearms, and our bodies as we colored in the fear with dense graphite. We paid attention to the weight of the pencil upon the paper—this tension and weight that fear does often cause. (Many of us had to take breaks to shake out our necks, hands, and arms.) Afterward, we dissolved our fears with our hands—some smudging, some erasing, and some blending the fear into the negative space.  

Together. as presented by San Diego Art Institute. 2019, graphite on paper, 42 x 96”. The sister piece to Fear Not.

Guests are invited to contribute to this piece by helping to physically fill in the space, together, with the pencils provided. As participants contribute their marks to this piece, we call to attention to the value in acting together and are reminded of the possibilities that can sprout when we work in one accord.  


Together, as presented at University of Washington to commemorate the 44th anniversary date of when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia on April 17, 1975.