On Tuesday, when Regina Holliday ( @ReginaHolliday ) met up with me to have a conversation with fellow members/leaders in the Society of Participatory Medicine ( @S4PM ), she walked in with a large canvas sized gift, wrapped in paper. We had the conversation (which was great), and then after that I opened the gift up to reveal this painting.
If you know Regina, you know that every element in her work tells a story, so here’s the one that she told me about this piece. She based it on a photograph she took of me at the 73 cents reunion (officially the HealthCentral / Sam Kass reception) in April, 2010. I actually have a photograph of her taking the photograph, which you can see in this post.
In the piece, I am sitting with Ryan, and swirling around us are shout-outs to things in my life – the “o” for open source / open leadership, the Kaiser Permanente logo, the Group Health Cooperative logo, a camera (which I prefer to be behind), the Starbucks logo, the Apple, Inc. logo, the American flag (referring to Ryan’s post), and the American Legion logo. The American Legion is a curiosity that Regina and I share – we both did Boys State and Girls State respectively when we were younger.
Regina told me that she portrays me as “impish” because I say wacky things that I sometimes act on. Who, me?
After the presentation, we rode home in a taxi together and had one of many memorable conversations about leadership and tragedy in shaping our approaches. I could see how she is both aware also less afraid to lead to help others. I learn a little bit more every time we talk.
So I am humbled to be in the group of people portrayed on canvas by Regina. This is a piece she gave away – it is not traveling with her other work. I am putting it here and on Flickr so that it does travel electronically (and I’d be happy to have it travel physically, too). Yes, I am blown away.
I think there’s something important about Regina’s work which is that the dominant themes are connection, communication, passion for change, not sadness and hopelessness. The people in them are looking for more and asking the audience to participate in asking for more, too (Menu Set is a great example). On the one hand, this makes the 73 cents monument that much more significant in its reveal of a widow’s grief. Her art overall makes people feel less afraid of the future, which defines leadership.
Some more photos are below, including one showing what Ryan and I look like in real life. We’re positioned next to the White House Christmas Tree, which was a special moment because of what two women said as our photograph was being taken by another guest – “the day has finally come.”
Thank you, Regina.