Karyn Alzayer | The Healing Hands of Art: Virus Free (e4)

Episode 4

“It’s time to pull out all the stops, time for us to do what we do with more ferocity and more purpose than ever before. Time for us to create like our lives depend on it, like someone else’s life depends on it. In times of crisis, the arts rise up out of our collective souls because they are necessary. Like the quarantined singers in Italy, I have no doubt we too will find ways to do the same.”

Karyn Alzayer, Founder and lead artist of Henna Inspired

For Henna artist Karyn Alzayer, hands don’t carry germs, they give help, caresses, and play games. Hands are her canvas and the entry point of connection. But, in this pandemic, when there is risk of contagion and physical contact is limited, she offers new ways to connect.

Healing Hands Participatory Art Project offered by Karyn Alzayer, Henna Inspired

One of her offerings is a Healing Hands project that invites the public to trace a hand on paper, write a message of hope on it, scan and email it to Karyn, and she will string this body of work together for a public art exhibition after the pandemic is over.

It is this kind of creativity and comfort artists are so good at believes Karyn. Like many artists in this global moment of pandemic, she is in her own words “pulling out all the stops,” and doing what she can to offer comfort in this difficult time.

Quack, Pack, Ouack, Nack, Kack, Mack, Lack, Jack, and Mrs. Mallard (photo by Daud Alzayer)

Karyn Alzayer lives in Malden and is the Founder and lead artist of Henna Inspired. She also founded and directs Integral Arts Everett, a nonprofit art organization that facilitates public art projects and programs in Everett. In greater Boston Alzayer is known as the artist who caged Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack. This, an admitted act of arts activism, was her way of addressing the wrongs of detaining immigrants in prison-camp conditions and pointing out how easy it is to right the wrong – as was demonstrated by the mere three hours it took before a city employee released the duck family from their cages.

Interspersed in this podcast, you will hear excerpts of music from a popular virtual orchestra and chorus recording and a growing collection of #songsofcomfort youtube posts initiated by cellist Yo Yo Ma and shared to comfort us all in our collective time of need. Links to the full video of each excerpt is below (in order of occurrence).

“Morning Meditation” piano solo written and performed by Kevin S. Foster
Say Hello! The Taylor’s (Sweet Caroline parody), created and performed by a family musical group called A Side of Taylors
What the World Needs Now – for Virtual Orchestra
What the World Needs Now – for Virtual Orchestra – Produced, arranged and edited by Shelbie Rassler (The Boston Conservatory at Berklee) Mix Engineer Dan Santiago (Berklee College of Music)
Miumiu – I Wish You Love (with Paulo Oliveira and bangryak), Guitar/voice: Miumiu; Guitar: Paulo Oliveira, Violin: bangryak

“Just a little something to brighten your day. What started as an idea on my flight home from college ended in a collaboration with some of the most incredible people. I couldn’t be more grateful. Please share to help us promote positivity and optimism while we need it most. 💜”

Shelbie Rassler, Producer, Arranger, Editor of the Virtual Orchestra rendition of cover “What the World Needs Now” (Student at Boston Conservatory at Berklee)

Published – April 3, 2020
Hosted, produced and edited by Ose Schwab

Recorded on Zoom during Covid-19 Pandemic physical distancing measures

The Culture Matters in Malden Podcast can be heard on Soundcloud, Spotify and most Podcast Apps