In the world of love letters there is no end to creativity. I am ever astonished at the various kinds of love people want to express and in writing, signed, stamped and mailed to make someone's life richer. It should be no surprise that in the hands of an artist whose work is as bold, welcoming and abstract as Annie Albagli’s, love letters takes yet another turn. After all, we’ve had letters to stores, letters to businesses, letters to extinct species that left me breathless for the sorrow and steamy passion - also from an exceptional artist, letters to beloved animals and even letters to abstract concepts. Annie, with her sweetheart Vadim Ogievetsky, has crafted a love letter to Waashington D.C., not just their love letter to Washington D.C. but an interactive one to which they invite the world to join. Yes, bold, welcoming and abstract in its own way.
The site itself is a beautiful visual invitation to slip your letter into the fabric of the city. Please go to it, hit the “get started” button and see it spring into action. So much fun! When I first heard about this project, I assumed (even though I know that assuming so often leads to naught but limitation) that she was inviting the public to write love letters to elected leaders, because when I hear the initials “D.C.” I go right to government and all that implies. But no. D.C. is a city, a city where people are born, raised, go to school, are emotionally formed and culturally molded, entertained, treasured by their families, fall in love, marry, have children, and grow old with a lifetime of memories. Annie wants these letters to exist outside the political sphere and to memorialize the aspects of personal paradise that the city evokes.
Naturally, I love this, as it is a slam-dunk for me that a great love letter lets the writer bathe in the positive, which as we now know is good for the psyche, which is good for the physical health. Annie, as you can hear from her very descriptions of her life, her childhood, her values and her art, is an exceptionally loving and gentle soul. I find the sound of her voice gentle and ingenuous while carrying the directness, strength and simplicity of unadulterated good will. As far as I can see, her art and her inviting the world to take part in an open letter are both acts of courage. She is presenting herself generously and with trust that the public will respond in kind. How open-handed and big-hearted can a person get!
Annie, thank you for sharing this wonderful gorgeously conceived and executed project. I think people coming together in a spirit of focusing on the positive have the potential to repair the illness of this world. And, as much as I do favor hand written love letters, I have to backpedal here for the collective power found only on this miracle of modern communication, the internet. However, if you want to send something in your own handwriting that will last even longer, given that technology changes with savage speed while your own sweet handwriting is its own perpetual operating system, why not write a love letter to D.C. and send it, stamped and mailed, to yourself to be found someday by later generations. Future historians will be grateful.
Personally, I am hoping that Annie and Vadim will print all these out on good strong paper and maybe make notes in their own handwriting to be stashed somewhere safe from changing technology and the elements. Handwriting, like Annie’s hand-crafted art, is the proof that a real and loving person was there.
From me to you with love in the air,
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