Sunday in the Park with You
When T. and I spoke of freedom, a refugee from Ethiopia seeking asylum, we envisioned it as a quiet place, where one could rest, perhaps sitting on a park bench, unnoticed, while life passes by, without anyone policing where you are going or what you are doing.
I could see that his complicated story would not be easy to tell. Largely marginalized before social media made it impossible to look away, his and other life-stories coming to light are not new.
How do you compartmentalize such traumatic experiences, as experienced by HRI clients, while remaining kind and hopeful in the face of struggling times? How do we overcome obsessive mental demons pulling on roots to climb up from the depths of our own hell?
When first introduced to T., I had many thoughts race through my mind, as we shared our stories and began to get to know each other. We are close to the same age both with young children. No one knows this but I have spent most of my life missing the ones I love most. I was immediately able to empathize.The emotional consequences that T. and I felt crossed social and culture barriers.
The child playing in the foreground of the painting is not either of our kid but he is similar age to our own children. An apparition of his wife (statue of liberty) stands at his side with her hand on his right shoulder., while his father whispers into his left ear with his hand on T.’s left shoulder. I would like this to suggest T.’s Ancestors, Faith, Love, Hope, Pride, building him up, and I want to feel the weight of their hands on T.’s shoulders.