May The Things We Burn, Light the Way


Beth Kerschen
(Portland, OR)


Photomontage Aluminum Print


20” W x 16” H


Artist Statement:

This series is about the reflection and introspection I needed in response to the uncertainty and confusion due to the pandemic and the political events of 2020. My home in Portland, OR was a hotbed of action due to lockdowns, closures, protests, and fires. The city’s facade that I have photographed for years changed drastically with a constant rotation of boards, signs, messages, murals, graffiti, and smoke. I could feel these messages from the streets…the emotion, pain, the calls for help. As I walked the city streets during this time, I could hear the people’s voices coming through the walls. I was pulled to witness, listen, and document what I saw then synthesize these voices into new photomontage work. It clearly became a way for me to process it all and look for hope through this tumultuous time. My hope, in these times, is that we learn how to create new systems to allow for sustainable, healthy, safe, and abundant ways for everyone to live...for people to feel more whole.


People were shouting ""I Can't Breathe"" in the name of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 as people wore masks, protested, fires burned, and smoke flowed across the nation. This piece was made in hope that we listen and learn from these tumultuous years in order to create more supportive, respectful, and equitable systems.