Plant and Painting Share Common Roots

Amaranth, ©2011, Hannah Hunter, Collage (paper, fabric and watercolor on panel)

Amaranth. I was walking up the stairs to my studio, trying to come up with a name for a panel I'd just finished and this name came into my head. Curious to see what it meant, I looked it up.

Here's what I found: Amaranthus, collectively known as amaranth, is a wide ranging genus of herbs. The root of the word comes from the Greek, "amarantos," or "unfading" and it combined, sometime in the word's history, with the the Greek work for flower, "anthos."

A small purple flower, Amaranth provides a sturdy source of nutrition and serves to support sustainable land care in Africa.

Unfading flower. I like that. At in this time in the world, when so much seems unsure in so many countries, the world, at least my world, needs some reassurance about those things that do not fade.

Amaranth, the flower

I think about the children with whom I work. Day after day this week, I ran my eyes down the census to see if anything had changed; a chance for a miracle cure. No, there were still too many children whose diagnoses were grim. (Isn't one too many?) I wanted to push against this--to create a moment of fun, a small space for healing. Although I am not a doctor or a nurse, I am an artist and the healing I can offer is moments of relief, spaces for joy, a dose of hope.

Into this space comes what does not fade: art, prayer, laughter and love. Amaranth.