A candidate for one of our grants mentioned in an interview on YouTube that artists are people who move on the boundary, in the space where a lot of questions emerge.
I don’t know if I too move on the boundary, but when I selected pieces from my blog for a small book we published recently, I noticed that there were a lot of question marks.
When I described what I considered to be my first memory—in which my mother carried me to the window so we could wave goodbye to my father—I became unsure if this was a genuine recollection or just a collage of different images I ended up filing under ‘memories’.
When I heard a caged bird sing and fantasized that he sang loudly because he thought he was free, I wondered if I too live in the delusion of flying free while not seeing the limitations I impose upon myself.
When I looked at the videos of the Asian and Middle Eastern candidates for our grants, I questioned the validity of my criteria because they are so informed by my cultural background.
And I wondered if things are as clear as I say when I state that I write to find out what I think.
I may be curious but at the same time I’m apprehensive about those thoughts. This may explain why I sometimes feel blocked.
I’m not sure if I ask these questions solely because I’m looking for an answer. Perhaps I ask them because I’m suspicious of my preconceived notions and ideas about the world.
The pandemic has shown me that we’re not only ignorant about what awaits us but also about how we will react to unfamiliar events. Had I known in February 2020 that I would spend three months locked up in our apartment, that I wouldn’t travel for more than two years, I surely would have been upset. But to my surprise I found a sense of equanimity in this period.
I know less but I see more.
That may be a contradiction but in the same talk, the artist says: “Contradictions are just that, contradictions. Why should we understand them?”
Indeed, why should we?