Southern Statue Removal is Wrong: Here is a much better idea!

August 18, 2017

Confederate flags, nazis, white “supremacists”, statues of the Civil War losers – these are all things we could do without. But removing symbols and statues, fighting, killing or being killed to do so is completely wrong.

What is needed – BADLY NEEDED – is the legal REPLACEMENT of the statues. The Southern States should never have been allowed to erect statues to losers, or to display the disgusting symbol of racism – the confederate flag. They SHOULD have been taught in school that the Confederacy lost, slavery was abolished and now it is time to think right and move on. But they weren’t educated at all. Instead, they put on white robes and carried on with their lost cause.

So now there is an opportunity to start things on the right course. Replace the statues of losers with the statues of winners – of real heroes who fought heroically to do away with slavery. (I also include one person who stood up proudly to the Nazis on behalf of the United States.)

I have ten suggestions to start with. (1) Frederick Douglas; (2) William A. Jackson; (3) Robert Smalls; (4) Rosa Parks; (5) Harriet Tubman; (6) James Daniel Gardner; (7) Martin Luther King; (8) Miles James; (9) Abe Lincoln; (10) Jesse Owens.

That is just a beginning of great replacements for the statues of losers from the Civil War. There are MANY MORE possibilities.

It takes patience, planning and financing to replace statues. But it can be done. Crowdfunding would be a quick and strong way to do it.

What got me thinking about all this?  The news, of course,  and an email the other day, asking me to contribute to a “Silent March on DC”. The organiser wants to raise $400,000 for the March. I would rather put my money towards something that will make a lasting difference – like a statue of Harriet Tubman replacing Robert E. Lee. That’s where my money is going.

This is an opportunity for the people who want to end discrimination and racism. Plant good seeds in the South. It will take time to reap the rewards – but it will be worth it!

Art, Isms and Equity

November 12, 2021

Here I am, a Judge for an Art Exhibition. I have over a thousand entries to view and decide their fate. Especially in the last five years I’ve seen a lot of discrimination that was based on “isms” – like Sexism, Racism, Ageism, etc.

So, I am looking a these entries and what I have to say is that I will only judge them based on the ART or PHOTGRAPHY in the entry. I don’t care if the person is green or blue; old or new, with or without gender. I only care about the ART!

Some will say (and have) “but such and such groups have been discriminated against in the past”. Yeah, I’ve heard, seen and had my own experiences with that.

My solution – in this moment and with the duties I have right now – is not to discriminate on any basis other than the quality of the work submitted.

Fair enough?

The Myth of Being Separate

March 5, 2021

From The Pachamama Alliance: Human beings are not separate from each other or Nature. We are totally interrelated and our actions have consequences to all. What we do to others we do to ourselves. What we do to the Earth we do to ourselves.”

Do you ever feel separate from part of or all of the rest of the human race? Does a particular group or event try to force an identity onto you by name calling or putting you in a “box” ?

Many of us have felt these things at one time or another. Sometimes you give in and let a group dictate your identity. Other times, you rise above the nonsense of separation and assert your rights and feelings. It can be a very difficult decision. There are times when it feels like you must lose a battle in order to win the war. And there are moments when it feels hopeless; just as there are moments when it feels joyous and hopeful.

I’m a visual and performance artist. I wake up every day and to feed my creativity I try to look at the world around me as if it were brand-new and I have a clean canvas. I make that decision every morning and sometimes more than once a day. I can do this because I feel connected to all of life in the Universe. I feel connected to the plants and animals and all other humans. The “group” I belong to at the start of the day is this amazing and beautiful and connected Universe.

Being connected not only provides me with an appreciation of everything and everyone and just how incredible this Life is, but also opens my heart and mind to learning new information and meeting new people. I travel to new places, in my head and with my body. And when I arrive at the new destination I find I am welcomed by those who also have an open heart and open mind.

I do not pretend that I have always been successful or that every day goes perfectly or that every person I meet is friendly. Some days I encounter self-interest groups or individuals that feel separate from the rest of the world. They try to force me into a box that they can use or dispose of, they call me names, or hurt me physically in order to get rid of me. They are sad and pathetic because they have closed their hearts and minds and do not feel the connection of the Universe. And yet, they are connected. What they do can be hurtful. And the truth is, they hurt themselves as much as they hurt others.

My hope is that one day I will awaken with my “clean canvas” and look out over the city and see millions of people who also have a “clean canvas” that morning. I hope my dream will find you with an open heart and an open mind. I hope you find happiness in the world – with the animals, with nature and with all the other humans on this planet.

Feminism Book Review

March 31, 2017

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This extraordinary little book gets right to the heart of raising a daughter to become a strong and independent person in a world where inequality is rampant. Fifteen suggestions are carefully constructed and could provide a valuable tool box for both parent and child.

If the term “feminist” throws you off, here it is defined as a person who believes in and acts on the goal of all people being equal. It means equal in all opportunities. In all ways. It doesn’t mean “Feminism Lite”;  it means “you either believe in the full equality of men and women or you do not.”

Adichie writes “Teach her that the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense. . . ‘Because you are a girl’ is never a reason for anything. Ever”.  This is a foundation for teaching equality. “Separate but equal” is not the same thing and is not applicable. The author gives good examples of how this works and how it could be applied to sons as well as daughters.

Another key concept that Adichie suggests is to “Teach her to question language”. It is not as easy as you might think and the author points out that you will have to question your own language.

“Language is the repository of our prejudices, our beliefs, our assumptions.” She writes. Indeed, language is incredibly powerful – and often underestimated.

The book, which takes about 30 minutes to read, is an open letter to her friend, who has asked for advice in raising her daughter.

It addresses concepts like marriage, likeability, sex, identity, appearance, and one of the most important things in life – “difference”. Important because every human being on this planet is unique – something we often forget in our rush to label and box people based on some irrelevant basis.

“Teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary.” And along those lines, the author ends with “I hope that (your daughter) will be full of opinions, and that her opinions will come from an informed, humane, and broad-minded place.”  A great place for the book to end…and this review of a beautiful and powerful book.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is from Nigeria. She is also the author of We Should All be Feminists.

Book Review by Phil Dynan, working artist.

A Time for Change in France and Africa and the US, too. Je ne suis pas Charlie.

January 12, 2015

Afrique being by Phil Dynan

This week saw an horrific murder of thousands in Nigeria and also the despicable murder of a magazine staff in France. One event generated millions of responses and tons of money being thrown at the French magazine. I think millions got it wrong. And I think it is time for a big change in thinking on this planet.

Afrique (as the French say) is a continent battered and raped for centuries by colonialist powers including France. They left a legacy of poverty and desperation. Even today, Africans are generally looked down and marginalised in French society (this I know from living in Paris) and in other parts of the world, including the US.

A magazine that specialized in depraved “humour” and easy targets was on the edge of bankruptcy and with good cause. Picking on the marginalized and “religion” is a “soft” target for the lazy and insensitive. That magazine deserved, not the event that took place, but to go into bankruptcy. It deserved to be forgotten and was on its way out.

The Africans murdered in Nigeria were mostly women, children and the aged – people that could not outrun the “religious” lunatic fanatics of Boco Haram. They did not deserve this death either.

But why does the French magazine get the attention and money? It seems to me that it is an extension of the disregard and oppression of the people of Afrique – the almost endless attempt to marginalise the “black man” (and here I use the term “black man” to symbolize the people of Africa, not as a “literal” definition).

I say it is time for a change in attitude and values. I think it is time to re-build Africa, not stand by and watch the results of Western colonization and abandonment of this precious people.

Give that village in Nigeria the money and attention it deserves. Build them a secure and safe town, with running water and electricity. Take the money from the racist magazine in Paris and give it to people who deserve it. Take the “solidarity” behind the not-so-funny cartoon rag and give it to the people of Africa. End the racism and the taking advantage of the African people. Stand with Africa.

apple, feijoa & maple pie

May 30, 2014

Putting my frozen feijoas to good use!


Chelsea Winter's Apple, Feijoa & Maple Pie, Woman's Day NZ Chelsea Winter’s Apple, Feijoa & Maple Pie, Woman’s Day NZ

Chelsea Winter is a popular food columnist in New Zealand’s Woman’s Day magazine. She recently appeared on TV1’s Good Morning show with this spiced maple-sweetened pie that has winter comfort written all over it.

If you missed the mag, the recipe features on the Good Morning website. Search for feijoa to discover other wonderful recipes.


Serves 6
Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking 35 minutes


  • 75g butter
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1.5kg feijoas, flesh scooped out and chopped
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cornflour
  • 2 x 400g puff pastry blocks*
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
  • ice cream and cream to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan bake.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt…

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first taste

April 9, 2014

EXACTLY how I feel about the arrival of the first Feijoa! Right now I am caring for the plants and trees, carefully watering and mulching them. Later I will get my paint brush out and assist with the pollination process. Can’t wait!



Feijoa season is never quite real until I have the fruit in one hand and a teaspoon in the other. That taste. There’s nothing like it. And the texture. And the memories.

Twitter told me back in March that the feijoas had arrived early this year and I’ve been noting disgruntled friends in other cities commiserating about the price of them in the supermarkets etc. But I have not seen any myself, until I stumbled across six trees in my neighbourhood, neglected, fruit unwanted.

The first ones I grabbed were ruined by fruit fly. Ugggh. The horror and the disappointment. But, unable to help myself, I went back and discovered good sized feijoas that were untouched.

Simultaneously, Word Porn (on Facebook) delivered up this unknown gem: Natsukashii. I have a suspicion that this translation from the Japanese may not be entirely accurate – but it is the most perfect description of what it is like to taste…

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Influences on My Art: ManRay & Meret Oppenheim

March 10, 2014

Paintings by Phil Dynan
Continuing with the homework assignment from my current CalArts class in “Art History for Artists”. MANRAY & Meret Oppenheim greatly influenced my work. These paintings were published as Art Prints by Verkerke.
Going to a Manray Retrospective at Beaubourg while I was living in Paris changed my life. It was also my introduction to DaDa and I find it is always in my mind!

Electronica Disease

March 8, 2014

I’m taking an Art History for Artists at CalArts right now…homework assignment is to list things that are part of our personal art history. So I’m working backwards from the my current works:
Tate Modern students
I have been painting in London since 1970. Art History and cultural appreciation for art and artists seems so much more valued there than in the US (in general). I regularly do gallery tours and on this momentous occasion, I was touring with Swedish Artist Anna Tuhus. We had visited about 6 galleries before we got to the Tate Modern. Most were small galleries or exhibits where the visitors were intensely focused on the work. BUT there at the Tate, with an incrdible Joan Miro exhibit, the visitors – about 60 students – were ALL completely focused on their electronic devices – not one was looking at the exhibit. They had given up true social discourse and observation for virtual reality. Even sketching and shooting around them, they barely noticed our existence. I’m now doing a series of paintings based on this “electronica” disease.

Festival de la Feijoa

November 12, 2013

Feijoa Festival in Rancho Tehama, California

The First Annual Rancho Tehama Festival de la Feijoa took place this last week. The week long festival included harvest, processing, food and drink creation, singing and dancing. Feijoa ice cream, feijoa-fizz drinks, feijoa and lime muffins, feijoa paste, feijoa-pomegranate tea, feijoa-pomegranate syrup, feijoa lemon-strawberry muffins, feijoa-pomegranate honey, and plenty of feijoa eating. Sadly, 95% of our crop is now down and processed….but we are already looking forward to next year!