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Traveler, 2018

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Traveler / charcoal on canvas / 150 x 200 cm / 2018

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A young man sits crossed legged inside a makeshift shelter, like a homeless Buddha, or a gutter poet, scribbling down his poetry, his sketches, memories or visions. Behind his tent is a brick wall with a single, black window. The wall shuts him out, limits any perspective for him and the viewer. The ragged tent opens up like a theatre curtain. The only piece of furniture in this domicile is a cardboard bed and a backpack. The boy seems unconcerned with his meager situation or lack of any comfort. He lives on the edges of a western society, and takes it stoically like a modern-day Diogenes, left to his own devices.

The work is as much a social commentary as it is an allegorical description. The figure of the boy interested me as he can be representing one of the many refugees that traveled the Balkan route, or the growing amount of people sleeping rough in wealthy cities throughout Europe. The economic inequality is growing and it will shape our future, and the little tent appears te be the most rudimentary idea of a house as a place with some privacy for a person that cannot afford anything else. But while the boy is concentrating on his writing or sketching the tent around him is starting to function like a retreat for contemplation. It is an environment on the margins of society, a place to have distance from the world around him. Traveler is not worshipping a distant god, he simply finds strength in holding on to his art making, let his views and experiences find a voice, to travel between worlds and words, reality and imagery, against all odds. The work conveys the idea of seclusion for art making, and also the precarious situation the maker finds himself in order to do so. 

 

 

sketch for Traveler / charcoal on paper / 107 x 79 cm / 2018