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CNN's "9/11 Ripple" Project: Peregrine Honig

Peregrine Honig's "Twins"
Peregrine Honig's "Twins"

CNN.com commissioned artists from around the world "to create or choose work to illustrate the ripple effect of 9/11." Here, Kansas City's Peregrine Honig describes her work called "Twins," and recalls where she was on September 11, 2001.

By Laura Spencer


Kansas City, Mo. –

Peregrine Honig's artist statement for CNN.com's 9/11 Ripple project:

"I woke up on September 11, 2001, dreaming about the morning's tragedy. I was in Kansas City and I had an 8 a.m. meeting. Mark (Southerland), my future husband, was sleeping off his jazz gig.

I got to the cafe, and the meeting dispersed after the second tower billowed into flames on the tiny television we'd gathered around. I returned home and climbed back into bed attempting to explain to Mark what was happening. Half asleep, he rolled over and told me everything was OK. What I was saying was unbelievable. I wanted to believe him. I woke up again and turned on his radio. America felt very close and far away.

My tall friend Nicole and her twin sister, Coryn, were called the "twin towers" throughout their childhood. Something we had taken for granted, two matching shapes in a cityscape, that the sky was safe, went up in smoke. My grandmother called from Eastchester later that day to tell me she was OK, and I didn't believe her. I went to the empty tower's space when I visited her months later and wondered if how I was feeling matched false limb syndrome. Plastic flowers and sun-bleached photographs had been stuffed into fences.

These identical heads were cast in beeswax from chalkware mantlepiece heads, like "grandma" art where there is a boy and a girl facing each other. The faces are no one and everyone. I cast them at a candle factory and manipulated them while they were warm with a hairdryer and a propane pen torch. They warmed until they softened toward each other.

My mother remembers the day President Kennedy was shot, and I will remember 9/11 in the same way -- what I was wearing, the sweet natural smell of my partner's sleepy head, light pouring in through the window as I attempted to forget the unforgettable."

Audio recorded in Spain by Beau Bledsoe (Bledsoe and Mark Southerland are touring Spain with Flamenco Mio, through a grant from the Lighton International Artists Exchange Program)

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Laura Spencer is staff writer/editor at the Kansas City Public Library and a former arts reporter at KCUR.
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