The mathematically precise splendor of Monasterio Real de San Lorenzo de El Escorial pulls me through the last stretch of our uphill walk from the Phillip IItrain station. It’s exquisite.
I fell in love with the moon when I was five years old. My mother forced me to sit still in front of the television and watch as the Eagle crept down and settled on the powdery surface of the moon.
Does our mother’s life then become the grisaille to our own? That monochromatic grey scale underpainting to which we add the color of our lives.
In Blackout, Faiz mixes images of Muslim and Hindu sacred origins as a symbolic defiance of the Partition. In the lyrical and romantic poem Ya’d’ (Memory or Remembrance), the pain of separation from the beloved (Jan) and exile (fira’q & hijr) also represent a yearning for the pre-Partition problematic, undivided self. In these lyrical poems, Faiz constantly raises questions of ‘home’ and ‘exile’, that defy the space of separation of the two nation-states.
Social Media shows us meticulously curated imagery and art: that perfect face, the choreographed tik tok video, the manipulated political message. Through my art, I hope to uncover the beauty in the hidden imperfections that my mind is not yet trained to see. The blurriness in my lines indicates my feeling about the nebulous nature of life. I continue to capture the complexity of my culture and background in the images I create.
A peek at some of the contributions our friends on Tillism have made in the past 100 days.
A woman, Maria, approached me at the Buddhist temple on Millcreek Drive in Mississauga, Ontario—“I feel I have to talk with you”—and introduced me to a female Buddha with toenails and fingernails painted pink, one foot stepping forward, holding a vase and the wish-fulfilling jewel of the enlightened mind.
‘Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.’ from Their Eyes Were Watching God
It is near dusk and soon it will get dark. My train will not arrive till 9:30 pm and stop in Perm for about 20 minutes. “Listen, Olga, as much as I’d love your company until it’s time for me to leave, I am also conscious of your precious time, and if you can’t stay for an early dinner, perhaps we could have a quick coffee and call it a day?” She considers briefly, and then demurely suggests, “Or early dinner, and THEN coffee” with a grin.
Her friend, Yelena, who works at the A‐Corner, tries to camouflage her befuddlement on seeing a brown American; Olga had only mentioned to her that I was American. I try to explain the concept of a naturalized citizen. She cackles and chortles with a blush and offers me tea or coffee. I graciously accept her offer for coffee. “American coffee”, she asks with a sneaky grin? “Brown American coffee”, I submit… “make that naturalized brown American, will ya”.