Sunday, February 8, 2009

Why no Colours?

I write of the Somali rapper, K’naan... but I have no pictures of Somalia, and if I did they would not be mine... so instead I provide my own pictures, images where, as I see it, beauty emerges out of the ordinary and the sub-ordinary. These images come from my own world.

I heard an interview the other day with K'naan, the Toronto based, Somali rapper. He talked of his home country, Somalia. He talked with great love, he talked in words defusing great beauty as he remembered his own land.

He also talked about the eyes of the media, the predominant Western way of looking at his land in particular; that is the way images are presented of Somalia. He said that the images on the news and in the films is over-and-over-again of a beige, grainy world -- a world of devoid of colour.

And he wondered, where is the colour? The land he knew was infused with colour. Where is the colour?

There were plenty of images of a land taken over with war and warlords, plenty of images of pain, of fear, of terror in its birth. But where is the colour?

Why no colour?

Even in those darkest corners, there is never a purity of the degenerate. Beauty is always right before the eyes, glaring at us. What effort, what discipline we all must make to ensure that this beauty is not acknowledged.

There is colour in Somalia.

There is beauty everywhere, in and around all of us...

Let us make every effort... not to make the colours show (we do not need to do that)... but to remove those nasty boundaries -- liberal and conservative boundaries; boundaries created by a preoccupation with social injustices, breaches of principles, rather than the pragmatic gifts of life as they are inescapably presented before us; boundaries which make a fetish of, as Elton John once said, that Madman Across the Water, that evil in far-away lands, troubles in places and people always removed from us -- boundaries which hide beauty and love from us in its most obvious demonstrations.

Open those blinded eyes... for there is no true effort in looking for it, those gifts of life are everywhere around us.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I write as these pictures portray, lines of difference, between a this and a that, between water and land --distinctions which truly matter in the movements of this world.

However, these lines of difference, while they can be clearly distinguished within an image, a stopping of time... in the real world where living things find their home, these lines of demarcation are never solid, never still, always in movement.

Whether it is the distant movements of the pacific tides, daily raising and lowering the waters in the river; or whether it is the undulations caused by the rising winds or the passing boats; or if it is the less dramatic changes wrought by the swans and the ducks, by the migrating salmon -- it all creates lines of demarcation which can never be solid are always undulating with the movements of life and planetary forces.

Two truths, the double vision of William Blake -- life creates lines which mark differences between a this and a that, but these lines constantly undulate, forever shift and move.

Let us respond, move to the liquid flows which are inescapable in the movements of the alive.