& just when, things fall in place
Things fall apart.
How high to jump, or if at all? Is there energy left? All these different cliches. Inspired by rejection, quite possibly, inspired by an insult.
When you become a mere cliche, a fragment of the past, is it possible to acknowledge the hurt? In moving forwards, I seem to sometimes talk in a cryptic form in the blog – attempting, badly to reveal. I end up expressing nothing of meaning. The dullness of reality. The energy, sapped. The inability to express what I want to say, again, and again.
The pursuit, the potential, the importance of the struggle. Cliches. Quotations. Life, currently, seems to be full of them. In not being ashamed, in bringing shame and in total defiance – to be a strong person- for what purpose? to what end? Words. Simple to express. Truth. Difficult to live by. & when hurt, hard to let go.
Reality, often seems elsewhere. Currently, my reality seems to ignite tensions that have no ways to be unwound. Accumulating tiredness. Is this a global phenomena – so easy to fall back on that – the ‘world’ is in a bad place.
I seem to have hit a stumbling block, & it’s the first time the block seems difficult to overcome. No idea what that means. Yet, I write it. I question whether its the beginning of something new? The cliches that I live my life by. The books that I read. The people that I look up to. The art that I make. Its irrelevance to reality. For what? For the pursuit of a Truth or is it The Truth, as I want to know it?. Sometimes, shocks me – my reservations, my inabilities, my lack of awareness. Total naivety. The continual desire it seems, to end up being vulnerable. Another cliche. The pursuit, or the potential to live through vulnerabilities, in being honest. What value does that really have?
How to be relevant? For a small moment in time? In fragments of someones imagination? in moments of my own life? In creating meaning, through action(s). In repeating the cliches. The cycle. In pursuing love, when it was never there in the first place. In words that manipulate, control, deceive. Tiredness awakens the defunct monster in me. No energy to shout or scream. Some taps on the keyboard. Another cliche. Hiding behind the screen..
In the insignificance of meaning to words that we attach our emotions to dearly. In the past few weeks, I have once again began the unravelling of meaning of love, family, friendship, relationship. It leaves me with just exhaustion. Its a simple excuse. A valid reason.
The cliches, continue. For how long?
It has been, what seems an unconventionally busy few weeks internally. It felt a bit like being on the losing side in a boxing ring, or perhaps, an Auerbach painting, or more aptly – the changing rapidity of the London weather. To take an umbrella, or not – to wear sandals or not. To take many layers. The secret, of course – is to take everything! Not an interesting topic perhaps to write about on a blog, and its vagueness will also frustrate the reader. Here, I am acknowledging that growing up involves being able to handle and process many different emotions. Being ready. There are no second chances. Our lives are filled with sound bites or quotes; cliches, one liners. The past few weeks have confronted me with fear, disgust, shock, love, kindness, gentleness, sensuality, intimacy, hatred, empathy, confusion, more shock, the past and more.
The human being in me, in a post-modern way contains now the artist, architect, researcher, the designer, the writer, the thinker, the doer, the philosopher, the teacher, the writer, friend, son, brother, cousin, uncle, mentor, mentee, the manager, the collaborator, the colleague, the agnostic, the nail-biter, the walker, the queer, the lover, the fighter, the obsessed pragmatist, the deluded idealist. No wonder, I say, that I feel like I am doing too much. Overthinking. Over-Analysing. To be a leader, to be led. to challenge and to be challenged. It continues on in a vicious cycle that requires constant focus on the present, on the truth – What is it that is defined as Truth? Whose Truth? What Truth? Where do I buy it? Where do I find it? Where do I go to seek it? Who will guide me to it? and what do I do once I have it? Perhaps, it is to stop. To not to seek. But to accept. To find. To do. To settle. What an absurd idea. I must pursue it all, or nothing.
I go through bouts of existential doubt, go through moments of complete and utter confusion. What is the right way to go forward? The only way to go, I realise, of course – is forwards. One foot in front of the other. One idea in continuation of another. Everything else will continue to filter itself. To edit down, to reduce itself to the only things that matter. To continue being erased until it is not relevant. To continue being. How to overcome such human frailties? To fully embrace them. To acknowledge that its human to be able to feel, think and do all these things. Its a challenge to stay human. Especially when its so easy to become something else. Too easy perhaps.
The internal soul, and the eternal soul continue to prod, to push, to challenge, to engage with the reality of the self that is to overcome. To forget, to live, to die, to be present. It takes energy to produce such thoughts. It takes experience to know that such thoughts are also irrelevant. I write anyways. Acknowledging that, Love is all that we seek, and need in all its guises.
(The drawing of a young boy yesterday intrigued me – as he stopped, sat, and the others referred to him as mad. I wonder how many people think I am mad – I could hazard an intelligent guess..)
Its been a while since I stopped to write anything, either here or in paper. Being busy. Boxing away certain things, to focus on others.
I have once again, finally a little bit of time to re-sync, (most will argue a day or two does not really re-sync anything) Yet, I am realising even I forget at times the things that are the most important, and how to prioritise them. My doggedness gets the better of me.
We talk endlessly about the process, and not so much about the end product of the process at the moment – I reflect on conversations in the past about socially just led processes that would provide a socially just end.. Idealisms that we still hold on to. It dawns on me, this endless cycle, this process, is really just life, it continues to re-invent itself, it continues to churn its wheels, taking no prisoners.
Yet, as I put on my various hats over the last few months, I realise that the idea of doing, making and thinking really is about being and continuing to be, and I want to be able to define that as a truth of who I am. Yet, even I forget to stop and reflect. Take stock of who and where I am now. The present moment is the only moment that matters, despite my endless days and weeks spent planning for the near future, they are not contradictions in terms to me anymore.
This continuous process – the thing that is life, continues to humble me in all its ways. Spending time with people is what I value the most, because I am away a lot from those that are close to me.
What else is important to re-sync here? the fact that there is some amazing people in my life that I have depended upon over the years, new people that continue to come into my life and make dents in wonderful ways. All these things, takes time. I often retract from jumping in too deep. I know they are security mechanisms that have developed over time, perhaps, like my father, I will also end up developing crocodile skin. His stubbornness is sometimes quite wonderful, as its channelled into the family, but mine, is channelled into work- important I understand, but perhaps more of it could be channelled towards art, well being and with friends & family.
Although this stubbornness to push seems embedded within me, I have to once again learn that I have to give myself the space needed to truly reflect and continue growing. For me, a by-product of making Art is this time to stop and reflect, the process of making art is intuitive, I am not so focused on the creation of an aesthetically, marketable product in this instance, but rather a process that allows me to engage. The main reason for creating art is that it provides an avenue to channel energies for a positive end. The process then, is about creating a positive space, to engage, for dialogue, even if they aren’t expressed in words. Love, is what I continue to seek, in its entirety, if only for my own fears of being hurt continues to stop me.
Although I never express it as much as needed, I must thank everybody and especially those that have mentored, guided, supported, listened and put up with my madness at all hours of day and night over the past few months.
This is a more reflective post than I realise. Those that know me, may be surprised by it.
The past two weeks I have been thinking, talking and reflecting about the idea of the human intuition. The sixth sense.
Why? I realise, I had lost a lot of faith in my own intuition, my guiding spirit, I was trying to figure out how, and why and when. It seems pointless writing all the details of the specific incidents. I want to focus on the idea, more so, on how to get that back. Intuition is based on trust – trusting your judgements, your ideas or thoughts, and living by them – and it being the right thing by you at that time. We can make mistakes – our intuition can also fail us. That, is something I had not really thought about. That Shocked me.
Following my intuition is truly what makes me who I am – I know now, more than ever before. It has taken me on a tough lonely journey at times, it has forced me to ask questions, and forces me still to ask questions.
Why so? IN drawing, I throw myself – as an artist, into the unknown. I sit, sometimes with a stranger, a young child, a young woman, and connect only through the drawing. Over the past few months – drawings – the portraits you see as you scroll on the blog – are mostly of young children who live in the station. For me, it was personal. I was trying to regain my sense of being again and at the same time, to give back that trust. Through the drawing process, I was both able to bring joy to some children for a fraction of their time, and it has forced me to re-think empathy, humanity and suffering. And Joy, Love, Pain, Death.
I then reflect on the idea of being overwhelmed now. Life is quite intense (intense is something friends will tell you I do, by default) but, this time around, it has been good intense. I have thrown myself into the deep end – I am pushing my art, my architecture and myself emotionally. Willing to connect and engage with the world around me through my senses.
And then, I reflect on the idea of expectations- what do we want from ourselves, what do other people want from us? and how do we go about matching those expectations? Did I imagine 20 years ago, I would be here? That life would be quite this amazing despite some sharp hits? Devastation, destruction are all channels to rebuilding the soul for some of us. But, I expect more from myself than I seem to be giving. Does this limit then and destroy the idea that we can expect to be great at some point? Who decides that?
Then I reflect on our fears, our weaknesses, What stops us from living. From breathing life into Art every day. Or being able to force growth out myself, to challenge the world around me to dare to live in Truth-
And it feels, after a very long time away from it all, that I am close to living my life in its Truth. It is overwhelming, it is good. I need to embrace this part of life more. It disturbs me. I am not writing as often – I want to engage with my senses more. I don’t have time to waste it seems. But.
And its that, that I realise more and more – that I stop short of living up to my own expectations of what I can achieve. I try and conform, and it is then that my fear becomes stronger – in trying to address the needs of family, of community, of society, of cultural expectations, of communal duties. And not the needs of the soul. And as time goes on. The soul may become bitter, alone, hateful. It is hard to tell. The optimist in me dares not even think about such an idea. The realist tells me that it maybe possible. The pessimist that wants to emerge from within me tells me its already too late.
It forces me to recoil into my shell once again.
Yet, I try and push. To break that barrier of fear. It is tough. We all need support networks, strong ones to allow us to become the best of who we are, to be able to satisfy the souls desires and needs, and to serve the humanity around us.
I am glad I am once again beginning to trust my intuition, it makes living that much easier, and connecting a whole lot more fun. The dangers, it is clear – will always be there, I can be wrong with my intuition, as I have been in the past – but I have to embrace that too. We are only human. We can only aspire to be the best that we are born to be. Anything more would just be madness….
Its been a long time coming, but now that I have it again, I am not planning to let it go. I trust my intuition more than ever, and i am willing to let it guide me once again.
A first world problem: I ran out of conte crayons + most shades of my oil pastels and needed larger drawing paper. Dhaka is truly rubbish for supplies. A mega-city of 12+ million people – without decent art material stores.. Something somewhere has gone terribly wrong…..
How easy is it to sit and reflect on continuing works of Art? How do you stop, think, rewind, and rationalise thoughts and emotions? Especially when it comes to Art? And why do it at all? Doesn’t it just mess up the mind and force you to ask questions that can probably never be fully answered? It can only lead to more questions..
When it should really be about being in the Art, being in the doing. What do I care about – post drawing? Its purely about being in the moment. Yet, could I throw away a drawing? could I destroy it? Those few minutes and hours spent drawing, observing, seeing, making what does that symbolise and mean? How precious are they to me? For whom or what do I draw for?
Some may know that all the drawings are done only in observation – and in-situ, or on site – be it portrait or otherwise. And with the city as a backdrop, moreover a city like Dhaka, I am left at a loss at times as to even how I produce the drawings that I do – how do I remain focused? What is it it that inspires me? Other than life and its multitude of emotions and ideas? And where do I go next? Many artists will argue that these studies are not works of Art, that real art can only be produced in studios, in well lit studios, or controlled environments. Perhaps so, and a lot of the times – especially in relation to painting, I would agree. But my choice of medium allows me to make the world my studio, its quite liberating and yet daunting.
It is, it feels at times, that the being in humans, that all-persevering soul that we carry within us – or that carries us – drives us, is what I seek to continuously engage with. To connect with my soul to the point where words are unable to express what I am seeing or feeling, but more importantly to engage with my soul and to allow it to show me what it is it wants to express through line, colour, tone, depth, shadow. It makes little sense at times. Each drawing evokes now, new sets of ideas or emotions. I am slowly growing up.
Letting go to my Art- for the sake of Art itself at times seems to overwhelm me and disturbs me. As I left the station today, I felt pensive, deeply contemplative on the purpose of what I do… why do I torture myself? is what friends ask – just continue doing. Of course, I am doing. But why do such things if it does not enable growth spiritually? or awaken the Truth from within? My desire is not to create pretty drawings or to compose a drawing that looks good in an aesthetic sense. They are raw, sometimes.
How is it that I can do anything else but this – to live for anything but? What is the point of doing anything but being in Truth and just living in Art. Is there a more fulfilling pursuit in life than that? Perhaps one will argue Love for another human being – but that’s temporal – fairytales have happily ever after, and yet Art can only come close to that, that raw Truth that exposes us to realities and ideas that we are often afraid of. I may agree that Love is ultimately what my soul seeks – but that particular pursuit can inspire and force one to create and continue being until such a time, if ever, comes by. It is special in its own right – but to be able to do, to be, is something that I realise has been a continual pursuit. Life tends to have other plans.
Today is a small milestone, a tiny one – I targeted twenty drawings of the young boys that dwell at the station – their lives and stories unknown – a sign of respect from me – I have avoided making it about that. It was really about trying to sit with them and share a moment in time. I was deeply touched today when I spun the drawing and showed it to the young boy and he beamed a fantastic smile. That drawing made him happy. It was a few seconds, but to know that my Art induced that happiness provides me with a tiny hope in humanity – aside from hope what can we really have? The hope for a better world for all that live in it continues to push me to do what I do.
It is a part of the becoming of human for me. And in this constant becoming of human, I continuously re-think my process of drawing and therefore my Truth, and its meaning(s) and also, points of inspiration change – superfluously.
I must remind the reader and myself – that I don’t only draw. And the diversity of work that I am involved in – from architecture to drawing to making to research with communities in a collaborative approach, has been at the heart of my work in Paraa, our studio culture is embedded in the practice of architecture through research. Yet, I know the blog has only featured drawings and thoughts on Art in the past few months. The overwhelming ideas that exist in the pursuit of a socially just society, for me has been rooted in being able to assist and help those less able to go forward together in creating spaces to be. In its wide visionary stance, it means little. But in the tangible end projects – design of a space for children to be safe in, or for pavement dwellers to take rest and solace in, to create beautiful architecture over time that will be enhancing these micro, marginalised and neglected communities is also a big part of what we do. A PDF link to some of our ongoing work… Paraa Process Presentation April 2015
I wanted to reflect because my points of inspiration for drawing continues to grow too – the likes of artists such as Auerbach, Freud, Giacometti, Picasso, Egon Schiele, Van Gogh amongst a few others and the way their levels of intensity in the production of their Art, or intrigue in the human subject developed and this continual searching for meaning in the wider discourse of humanity and now for me its struggles for truth and justice through Art and architecture.
Art then, throws questions at me rapidly, aggressively, and I reply with questions. With whom or where does the answer lie if not within? I continue to question myself because nobody else will.