by Plinio Hernandez, UC Berkeley MFA 2011
For the past 7 years Eicher has been part of the San Francisco State University-based Colima Project, a community arts program based in the country of El Salvador and for five of those years Eicher has been the project coordinator and instructor for the pertaining course at SFSU. For a month each summer Eicher has taken a group of multi-disciplinary students from SFSU to the small community of Colima to engage with its residents in whatever way they see their discipline fitting to the community's voiced needs. The results are organic projects that engage the viewer in a meta-narrative that comes out of workshops, dialogue and close listening.
In the summer of 2009 some of the projects culminated in the production of the first map created by residents of Colima; a cookbook project based on health and local gastronomical traditions; the learning, teaching and sharing of folk dance; and a mural centering on local environmental conservation issues; as well a road sign to warn speeding drivers of pedestrians. This deeply personal and continuous engagement with the community of Colima is central in understanding Eicher’s commitment in creating relationships between the local and the global or as Eicher would put it herself, “I think my love for this way of working comes from an interest in amalgamations and all other kinds of mixing, in which contrasting influences and ideas create a little chaos and a lot of power for generating new possibilities”. The truly beautiful that is inherent in Eicher's work is precisely the "new" or endless "possibilities" that can manifest themselves not through preconceived ideas and actions of the artist(s) or Art itself, but from a impetus of truthful story telling and a sincere love for engaging people and community.
(Text by Plinio Hernandez)