Carl Heyward: A Global Gaze

A man on the move, Carl Heyward is also a man with a message. The founder of the Global Arts Project (GAP), an artist and writer in his own right, he is a traveling man. He doesn’t travel alone. His companions are artists hailing from the far-flung to the familiar, voyagers all, their works, if not themselves, traveling from either the “everyday” (USA) to the exotic (Senegal) each time GAP unfolds its wings. This time around, GAP VIII glided into Ghent, Belgium with its CrossingBorders (A Long Way From Home) show.

Photo of Carl Heyward standing in front of a painting
Carl Heyward

The GAP’s core group are as international as their destinations. Besides himself (USA), he is joined by Akiko Suzuki (Japan), Chaewon Oh (Korea), Lorna Crane (New South Wales) and Vered Gersztenkorn (Israel). This “core group” was formed after Heyward’s 2012 project involving “mail art” that “connected 500 artists internationally and produced more than 3000 one-of-a- kind works.”

Three years later, in 2015, Heyward encountered Ron Weijers during GAP III in Lecce, Italy. Weijers is a “Dutch multidisciplinary artist working primarily with painting, photography and music.” He also runs the 10dence Studio Gallery in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. The two men’s personal visions melded. As Heyward puts it, “I consider him my counterpart… and a collaborator.” Although they operate independently of each other, “there are frequent overlapping projects.”

Photo of Ron Weijers
Ron Weijers

“Because we seek security in the concept of home as a base from which we might come and go or even invent anew,” writes Heyward, “when that real brick-and- mortar sense of place is threatened or limited, when perceptions of difference and fear of the encroachment of the OTHER outweigh compassion, tolerance, love or logic, we land in a place of uncertainty and suspicion…. CrossingBorders addresses personal, psychological, political, even aesthetic
limitations imposed by the dynamics of fear….

“The intermingling of peoples from ‘foreign’ places enriches us in terms of art, science, literature, education and language in a reciprocal cross-pollination that enhances rather than contaminates, that stimulates what would otherwise become stagnant…”

The underlying concept seeks to eradicate the barriers, boundaries and barricades that separate us—“the uncertainty of the immigrant” or for that matter all manner of constraints confining and restricting any traveler, be it “intellectual, psychological, conceptual or physical.” Those “lines in the sand,” as Heyward describes them, are too easily erased. But what better alternative, if not through art?

Mixed media painting by Carl Heyward
“Crossing Borders: A Long Way From Home”
Carl Heyward, 2019

Recently exhibited from August 31st to September 15th, in Ghent, Belgium, the exhibition will return to the USA by June 2020 at the Gallery Renee Marie in Benicia, CA, where Heyward is director and curator. That does not mean the exhibit has come home to roost. On the contrary. In the interim, GAP VIII may also be going to Japan and Mexico pending final negotiations. Heyward’s aim is to keep CrossingBorders doing precisely that—crossing borders—a never-ending world itinerary, replacing artworks as they are sold.

It is said that home is where the heart is. Heyward is blessed with a global heart, and home is where the art is. (And, as some would say, where he is.)

Carl Heyward, Director and Curator
Gallerie Renee Marie
1038 First Street
Benicia, CA 95410

Ron Weijers, Director;
10dence Studio/Gallerie,
Gravenstraat 33, 3311 BC
Dordrecht, Netherlands

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