Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
~ Frida Kahlo
Inspiration to me is often a sentence, with meandering clauses. Ideas come and interact with others until a sentiment forms. This week the theme at Summer of Color is red, a color for passion and blood. We were also given a challenge to use wings in some way. I stumbled along this little quote, so moving in its simplicity, which then inspired me to watch the 2002 movie Frida, directed by Julie Taymor. This is a gorgeous movie, with paintings that come to life! Here's a trailer.. (It's available to watch instantly on Netflix if you have it.)
I was happy to see, not only that red was symbolic for the passion that comes from pain and suffering, but also that the quote above is highlighted at the end of the movie. I've never really known a lot about Frida Kahlo but her story resonated with me very deeply. She spent many, many years suffering from a spinal injury. I developed a serious case of scoliosis which involved a number of surgeries as a teen and it continues to affect me. Although my physical suffering is nowhere near the level that Frida endured, there have been times that my body has felt very broken, and in turn, my spirit. Art has been my wings, just like Frida.
I've been struggling as an artist to communicate messages of hope authentically. I'm past the preoccupation with pain and angst of my early artistic journey. Yet, I am leery of an art that becomes "bubblegum feel good." Hope is much deeper than slapping on a smiley face attitude.
Today as I continued to work on this piece, a friend had posted a trailer for the recent PBS POV documentary Biblioburro: The Donkey Library. (The full movie can be watched at the link to the left.)
Luis Sorrano is a Colombian teacher who brings the message of courage, strength, and hope amidst violence each week to children in poor provinces through his traveling library. In one touching scene, he asks children to draw their stories with crayons and says " Even bad memories have pretty colors." The color, the vivid passion, is made alive through the context of turmoil .
I am not one to boast that the purpose of suffering is to create beauty. I do believe, that we have the ability to take our difficult experiences, to shape them in our hearts, and use them to do good.. whether it is creating beautiful art or helping our neighbor. The "why" behind our suffering is not as important as "what" we do with it.
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