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Posts Tagged ‘Hejira’

He was different; innocent of heart, and full of good will, which nobody wanted, this castaway, that, like a man transplanted into another planet, was separated by an immense space from his past and by an immense ignorance from his future.

― Joseph Conrad, Amy Foster



GC Myers-To Other Worlds

To Other Worlds“- At the West End Gallery

Wow. That’s quite a passage from Joseph Conrad‘s short story, Amy Foster, which was about a shipwrecked emigrant landing in Britain, unable to speak the language. He learns a bit of English and weds a kind local servant girl, Amy Foster, but remains always the outcast, unable to fully express his past or his dreams for the future to anyone around him. His native language is looked upon with suspicion and derision. He dies asking for water in his native language, nobody understanding his request.

I don’t see this new painting, To Other Worlds, in the same tragic light as Conrad’s story but it has that sense of  being in a world that feels completely strange and alien. Maybe it is a world where your language and forms of expression seem odd and untranslatable to those you come across. Your past is, like that described in the Conrad passage, is separated from you by an immense space, forever unknown to those in your present. Your future seems hazy at best as you are unable to plan in world in which you can’t communicate effectively and that you don’t fully understand.

It’s very much the feeling I felt from my early Exiles series. I was still learning to harness the communicative aspects of art and often felt alien in this world. I certainly never felt like I fully understood this place or its people.

I guess that part hasn’t changed significantly. But I have somewhat reconciled my past, present and future with my work. Just being able to communicate with an expression of some sort of inner feeling has made this world seem less strange.

But that feeling of being in a world where one feels out of place in nearly every aspect still sometimes shows up in my work. I think it’s important o hold onto that feeling so that you can recognize it in others and attempt to let them know you see them and understand the landscape they are trying to find their way through.

Okay? Okay.

Here’s this week’s Sunday morning music. It’s Hejira from Joni Mitchell. It fits here in that hejira is a word for a migration, a flight from danger which often places those who flee in the role of the exile, the stranger in a strange land. Joni’s lyrics for this piece, like most of her songs, are wonderful. Certainly feels right for this stranger in this strange land on a gray wet Sunday morning.



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