I met the author of this art work in an exhibition at the University. The vase in the middle is an ‘improper’ one – with holes along the body. I asked what it meant and why he made the vase in that way. He answered the vase represented the people with disabilities. Despite being ‘impaired’, being differently-abled, they are still constituted of complete unique individuals. The vase symbolizes their deserved and worthy integration into the society…It surprised me on how you could interpret an art through different lenses.. I then asked where the ideas came from. He, without hesitation, answered that’s his younger brother. ‘My brother was born with Down syndrome. Everybody was laughing at him.’ But ‘you know’, he said, ‘at home, he is the most cheerful one. He made us laugh, he takes us pictures, he sings and dances beautifully. So, I made this work as my brother. He deserves to live a normal life, to feel worthy, and be integrated into the society’. As we walked along the road in the campus, I could hear the wind whistled in my ears and the falling leaves twisted in space in front of me.
I said, ‘I am sorry that I am not that rich to buy your work, but..I really appreciate it.’ He replied, ‘Nope, your appreciation is more important than money…When I was a teenager, I used to drown in drinking alcohol and smoking, but soon I realized that was not what I lived for. Soon I gave up and started my art work’. ‘So my work, just to sustain my living, but I aim to something higher. It talked about the marginalised women, about poverty, about people surrounding me. That’s how I see my work fin this real world..’. I closed my eyes, thinking about the conversation I had with that young artist. Everyone of us ‘fights’ in our own ways. I believe, we are right in our pathways. That’s what we are made for.
Thanks for your sharing and your good heart. It’s a burning torch.
So, next time, when you see an art work, if you don’t understand, just ask the artist. I am sure they will give you interesting answers about their ideas. Or, who know, the answers are with you already, how you see and interprete it by your own.
For a full bright moon night.
Kampala, Uganda, 2 May 2019