“Thoughts and Prayers”, a collaborative sculpture installation by Martha Lewis and Margaret Roleke is now on display on the grounds at Five Points Arts Center. This piece made its debut in the fall of 2022 on Governor’s Island, NYC; Margaret & Martha’s goal is to have Thoughts & Prayers tour the country, to help incite better conversations about our collective relationship to weapons and violence in the United States. 
The large, cruciform structure was built by Roleke who painstakingly threaded, then wrapped dozens of used shotgun shells around the armature, to create a colorful, texturally rich take on the Christian cross. The prayer flags were made by Lewis, using crowd-sourced tee shirts hand-cut and stenciled with her custom messages. Every flag contains human DNA, signs of wear and a past as the covering on a human torso. They act as fluttering surrogates, protesting and bearing witness to each weaponized incident. Similarly, Roleke’s shells, sourced from various rifle ranges, bear the marks of human touch and interaction – they are often bent and misshapen by use. Like Lewis’ flags, they appear in a candy-colored array, giving the work a polychromatic, full-spectrum presence, further evoking the vivid diversity of us, here in the USA. 
Roleke & Lewis believe in and respect the power inherent in images and symbols. Thoughts & Prayers is a gesture towards bringing people of all faiths and belief systems together in the common goal of addressing gun violence. Accompanying the installation is a site, located in an adjacent tree stump, where the public can share their own messages about gun control and gun violence. These may be added to future iterations of the project, shifting the voice of the project to a collective chorus. 

Reception: Saturday, August 12, 6-8 PM

Five Points Arts Center - 855 University Drive, Torrington, CT

Martha Willette Lewis is a visual artist whose practice intersects science, technology, history, and human knowledge. Her recent projects tackle such topics as Quantum Physics, The Climate Crisis, Politics, Misogyny, and Memory. Lewis’s work has been exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the USA and Europe. Lewis has work on paper at Central Booking Gallery, Planthouse Gallery, and the Pierogi Flatfile, all in New York. More can be found at http://www.Marthalewis.com and on Instagram at @marthawillettelewis

Margaret Roleke is a sculptor and mixed media artist based in Easton, CT., and Brooklyn.

Much of her work deals with important social issues including gun violence. She currently has several large-scale outdoor sculptures on view in New England including The Norwalk Art Space, The Camp Gallery in Westport and at AirPort in Kingston, NY. Roleke’s work has been exhibited widely in galleries and museums. Find out more at http://www.margaretroleke.com and follow her on Instagram at @margaretroleke