Dhaka Drawings pt2: Day 1

I start with a drawing of myself in Dhaka.

As I continue developing my proposal for PhD research and the ongoing Paraa work, I realise that what I am mostly interested in – the scrutiny of the self – and its relation to space – especially in-between spaces.. this inhabitation of the self in flux – in constant upheaval to aspire, to go forward, to come to a destination to attain ‘peace’ or ‘solitude’ – and my own moral and ethical groundings becomes more difficult to communicate this story. The flux of where I am in time and space – as well as in the spheres of work that we are doing – shifting from culture, to social concerns to more grand utopian visions, seems I continue to question more and more what it is I see, how I see, and what I WANT to see.

I am currently reading across a series of people – from Schopenhauer, Susan Sontag, Dostoevsky to looking at drawings by Francisco Goya, reading a wide series of articles on the Palestinian camps and a book on Berlin (*thank you Bill) . It strikes me, that my preset of conditions – trauma as a child, the quite wonderful exposure to the arts and literature, to drawing, writing coupling that with the suffering from rejection of love to the more nuanced desire to apply knowledge gained, especially in a field of work within the sphere of architecture and urban social justice – may begin to create quite a complex of ideas which need to be KEPT separate, my friend Mike will say – to focus, focus and focus.

Why? perhaps as I read, experience and expose myself to ideas and knowledge that will stir my will to action I realise that I still really do not know what it is that I want to commit to other than knowing that, art, architecture, social justice and the scrutiny of the self in relation to the world is what I have focused on for a long time.  I say this, because, what motivates me – the will and the desire to pursue knowledge, to act on that knowledge if possible, and the desire to create and develop ideas from this knowledge, whatever the cost, makes it such a difficulty for others around me. I surprise, shock, frustrate and sometimes confuse those nearest to me and myself. Is that on purpose? Why desire such emotions?

As I sat drawing myself this evening – after having been to the Shilpakala Academy to watch a performance of Dokkhiner Shundori by TheatreX, and profusely reading between Schopenhauer and Sontag the last few days – it was evident that I pursued architecture as I felt it the most practical thing to do with the ‘skills’ that I had as a teenager. Does my portrait of myself tell ME anything? It tells me that, at the fifth attempt, I am becoming more comfortable looking at myself. There is an element of acceptance of the flaws and the suffering and confusion that I go through in life as well as the acceptance that others around me also go through suffering in their own way.

On my last reading – Schopenhauer touched on the idea of the optimist – if pushed through all the terrible things and places in the world – would the optimism still remain? perhaps the naive young adult in me would be fast to say it is possible, but the optimist CHOOSES to see the glass half full. What does it mean then, for me, to continue to remain an optimist? and why dare I label myself as such – knowing and seeing that the world is not designed in such a way? I continue to read and question, and hope that my continual self-critique keeps me in line with my thoughts and ideas – what I would like to conclude with, on the beginning of this trip, is that, I seem to be seeing much more clearly – ironic that, as my eyesight continues to deteriorate…. IMG_1460

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