37. The Mark of a Great Nation
Artist: Jill Mulligan
Benefactor: Kathleen Svoboda
Location: 631 D St. (Germans from Russia Museum)
The mark of a great nation is not in icons of wealth but in the lack of poverty.
In spite of the politics inherent in any political agenda, when a nation has the ability to advance to a state of successful use of its resources to the advantage of its citizens in obtaining food, shelter, educational growth, it is my belief that it becomes the duty of that nation to reach out to other nations and share its bounty so that eventually all nations may care for their citizens in a positive manner.
Once referred to as the Breadbasket to the World, Midwest America is an outstanding example of contributing food to third world nations made infamous because of their starving peoples. As a young person, I remember well my parents admonishing me to eat all my food at the supper table because other countries didn't have enough to eat. “Wasting food” was considered a sin of sorts when so many other people were starving.
It is in this paradigm that my proposal for the Serving Hands Art Project shows the two hands with the American flag securely wrapped around the base of the hands with the flag of Nebraska (or with the symbol of Lincoln: the Sower) which represents Lincoln's part in “breadbasket” contributions of food which have helped many hungry nations over the years. The fingers of the Serving Hands are wrapped in flags, like band-aids, symbolizing the third world nations that lack resources which would help them to a better way of life by providing food to areas suffering from lack of arable land and potable water. The list of “band-aid” nations was taken from the United Nations list of third world countries most in distress and present no political agenda. It just represents families in poverty whose children are going hungry. Hence the opening statement above referring to the mark of a great nation is a phrase I coined many years ago in college and am using it to express the Title (The Mark of a Great Nation) and statement about my proposal.