A story by Vesna, illustration by zoe.
“Why is the airplane erasing the sky?” she said. I had no idea what is she talking about. It took me a little while to get in synch with her thoughts. My thoughts were busy knocking on the doors of possible tomorrows, looping through never-ending list of things that are waiting to be done during the day. Her question made me aware. Aware of her little hand, of her great wisdom, of beautiful possibilities that are here and now… if we look carefully. “What do you mean, airplane is erasing the sky?” I asked her. I felt like talking to the Little Prince, feeling a bit ashamed being in the role of an adult who doesn’t get it! “Look.” She answered simply. Yes, that’s all it takes. Just look. It clicked in my mind.
A blue, bright blue sky has been clearly erased by the airplane, leaving behind the white trace, as if all we can see now is the paper on which the drawing has been made. I felt suddenly so much joy.
As if: her question erased that boring never-ending task list;
As if: all the doors of tomorrows are now wide open for us, if we decide to go through them;
As if: nothing else really matters but to look at this drawing around us from different perspectives and hold hands.
Once again I have realized that I need so much to learn from my child. I just simply forgot to look.
Many years later I met somebody who is an adult but never forgot to look. She became my friend instantly, my inspiration and support. I never met anybody who can look and see so much, who gives so generously and makes everything more interesting.This is her painting of the airplane erasing the sky and her imaginative vision.
This is a true story.
My thoughts while making the drawing:
So, when i was thinking about the image Vesna had given me of erasing the sky, I thought I would make it so that he was clearing space for a new “world.” When I was thinking about two worlds, or being able to see into more than one world, I thought about Ghede, a voodoo loa. He is usually shown with a top hat, and sunglasses with one eyeglass cut out—this shows that he can see into two worlds, the “outside,” and “the world beyond” (or inside…). He acts as psychopomp, moving the dead to their realm (and he’s called on to communicate with them), but also he’s a great healer, a trickster, and, especially a protector of children and pregnant women. So he is there at the very beginning of this life, and also at the end, when you travel to a different life. Maybe he’s there when your soul enters a new form, I’m not sure—but that would fit with the theme here :)Because St. Gerard Majella is a saint famous for protecting children and pregnant women, and because he is usually shown in icons with a skull (although i don’t know why), he was syncretized with Ghede. Also, he is known for the gift of prophesy and the gift of bilocation, making him a great match for Ghede. So, my main themes were: being able to see into more than one world at once (knowing many things as a result) and protecting/ nurturing children. I made it sort of circular by having the birds (sky creatures) come out from the “edge” of the central world, out of a blank space, as if the different worlds maybe circled into one another (also, note that the stairs keep going down behind them, they circle both up and down). I was thinking that the two girls were the same girl, at different points in their lives, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The plane is also a kite, completely under the control of the long, stretched-out arm of God (who can touch the ground and the sky at the same time), who is seen here visiting us and entertaining the child in the form of Ghede or St. Gerard.
(black ink on paper)