Spurred by an observant eye and a curious mind, and a few poetic words floating aimlessly in the back of my mind, my artistic outlook was to change forever.
I neither remember the artists' name nor the poem title, either the words verbatim or the poem's flow.
Therefore, the recollected words may have diverged from the original poem; nevertheless, the gleaned lesson still holds.
"...me get restless that me get careless and bare me mawgah (small) chest me never think that me made out of glass so everyone could see right down to my vein in my heart -how it twist up - how it tie-up..."
Why these got words stuck in my mind, I don't know. But I know for sure that this stanza, together with the words of a dinner guest, was to affect how I take and view my pictures.
Like most, I have pictures hanging on my walls; needless to say, as a photographer, most of the pictures are mine. Because of the prominence of the images, many visitors take a minute or two to admire the photographs. But one guest astounded me. Not only did she take the time to gaze at the pictures, but her gaze was surgically meticulous. I was intrigued but said nothing. Neither did she.
We did the usual things hosts and visitors do; eat and converse. Then, in the middle of an unrelated topic, she responded to the curiosity lurking in the back of my mind. With inquisitive interest, she asked if I felt lonely in the world. Huh?
Puzzled, I responded and begged for a reason to such an intrusive question. The answer was equally puzzling—your pictures. I guess the look on my face demanded an explanation because she obliged. As she justified her bold statement and I looked at the pictures hanging on the wall, it all made sense. There was an image of a lonely flower, a man walking down a foggy path, a tree stripped of its leaves but one. She had a point. All my images depicted loneliness.
Her keen observation resurrected and breathed meaning to the words of the poem "... me get careless and bare me mawgah (small) chest me never think that me made out of glass so everyone could see right down to my vein in my heart". I felt naked.
I have wondered and pondered how art can make the artist transparent; expose the artists' flaws and inner vulnerabilities to the world. But then, could the viewer be mistaken, thinking they are looking through a window to the artists' soul instead of their reflection? Is it a window or mirror? I am yet to figure this out. But the message is clear there is meaning to what we create.
This realization has changed how I approach and create art. I am now aware that art is not a monologue. Instead, it is a dialogue with the viewer. As we dialogue, we are both exposing our inner vulnerabilities and thoughts. We are, in a way, laying our souls bare.
Art is not a monologue; it is a dialogue.