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An Exhibit by Miggs Burroughs and Mark Yurkiw
The United Nations • October 10 - November 24, 2023

Photography by John Videler

About Signs of Compassion


"Signs of Compassion" is an exhibit by Miggs Burroughs and Mark Yurkiw
based on a poem by Emily Dickinson about compassion.

It was displayed in the lobby of United Nations headquarters in
New York from October 10 through November 24, 2023.

Miggs displayed 30 photos of diverse individuals expressing the poem
by Emily Dickinson about compassion, in American Sign Language (ASL),
one word or phrase at a time.

On the floor, to the left, is the Mantra Wheel by Mark displaying the same
poem in Braille on two identical and moveable cylinders - accessible
to adults, children, and visitors in wheelchairs

Through both Braille and Sign Language, visitors experienced a silent
poetry reading celebrating the power of compasssion and
diversity as a healing force in the world.

The Poem

The poem by Emily Dickinson that inspired them
and is being signed by the i
ndividuals on the wall:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

About Miggs and Mark


Miggs Burroughs – is a lifelong fine artist and designer based in Westport CT. His work in photography and illustration has been collected internationally, and privately, by institutions and museums. Miggs’s work has also graced the covers of numerous magazines covers including TIME. His illustration has appeared on a U.S. Postage Stamp and his design work has been seen and appreciated internationally, including posters for the Red Cross and Save the Children. Miggs is an artist of great humility, whose work can best be characterized as a study on the Human Condition. Click here to visit personal website.

Miggs's remarks at the reception:
This is not an art exhibit. This is a poetry exhibit. The poetry of Emily Dickinson expressed by a diverse group of individuals from the hearing community as a gesture of respect and solidarity. It is the visual poetry of American Sign Language, and the tactile poetry of Braille. And most importantly, the poetry of all of us coming together tonight like words in our own story, delivering an urgent message of compassion and healing to the world. I am proud to be a passenger on this planet with all of you standing here in the United Nations.


Mark Yurkiw – is an artist, inventor, and visionary. Mark’s work is seen around the world in many forms and media. Trained as a scientist Mark sees art as communicating with the world best done with sculpture; “when you can wrap your hands around it, you can wrap your mind around it” i.e Fireflies, the world’s first solar powered Lighthouse created to teach children to do creative things with renewable energy, 7 giant fireflies solar powered to blink to ships and planes coming into N.Y. Harbor. i.e Huddled Statue of Liberty has encouraged people to donate 2 million winter coats for the homeless.

Mark's remarks at the reception:
When Miggs asked to take my portrait, I didn’t ask why. "Why" never has a correct answer - it is the one we give it: We are here for each other. "Signs of Compassion" includes us all in our diversity, and speaks to those least spoken to, in sign language and as embossed in Braille. The poem as Mantra is a call to action. Why HERE, why NOW, why THIS? Each time we don’t listen to each other WE are deaf. Each time we choose to not see the suffering around us WE are blind. Emily Dickinson takes us to this daily call to action: Words Matter.

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