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Ekphrastacy: Joseph Van Kerkhove: “Away”

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by Andrew Aaron Valdez


Untitled (058)

by Joseph Van Kerkhove


The hardest part of leaving home

Is leaving your mother’s arms

Knowing each time you return to them

They hold less and less of you


Until all they can hold onto is the

Flower arrangement inside her casket


Each petal, dancing between her fingers

Blooms a deep seated sense of jealousy within me

Mocking me

Because they will be the last warm parts of this

Earth that will hold onto her


And though these petals will wilt

So to will their pain

Leaving me alone to bear the weight of losing a mother

Bearing the weight of leafing home

With not a green thumb

But green eyes

Filled by the jealousy of knowing that

Those who were around my mother while


I was gone


Have years worth of memories that

I’ll never know

Years of smiles

Years of love

I neglected to find myself

I wish I had listened to you

When you told me that the hardest part of leaving home

Is realizing, even when you return you never really come back

To the arms that whisked you



Joseph Van Kerkhove, Artist: This body of work incorporates various printmaking techniques that express my personal experiences. I edit, slice and reassemble the elements of the prints to create new images and compositions. I am discovering a visual language that includes a combination of objects, surface and color. I juxtapose objects and imagery to make the work more quizzical, evocative and contemplative. A common object like a doily or a chair is something that I find interesting because of the personal memories they evoke. I use its traditional formal quality along with its endless conceptual interpretations to contrast the process with an idea. The work allows the viewer to make their own interpretations of the images that relate to their memories and personal experiences.


Andrew Aaron Valdez, Poet: Andrew Aaron Valdez (he/him/his) is a Chicanx educator, administrator, poet and theatre artist from Donna, Texas. Andrew is a C.A.R.E. Teaching Artist at Cleveland Playhouse, educator for the Indigenous Cultures Institute, Steering Committee Member of the Latinx Theatre Commons, a 2019-2020 Americans for the Arts Arts & Culture Leaders of Color Fellow, a 2019-2020 Cleveland Public Theatre Premiere Fellow and a 2020-2021 Artist in Residence at the Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center.

Andrew is a Terry Foundation Alumni and received his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts – Theatre Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.


Please enjoy this video for Ekphrastacy September 2020 in Response to SPOTLIGHT- Joseph Van Kerkhove:


To learn more about our current exhibition, Joseph Van Kerkhove, click here

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