Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
I forget sometimes, because the water has long since gone under the bridge, down to the estuary, and out to sea. I forget as an artist now how hard it was to try being an artist then, feeling occasionally foolish for my compulsions amidst a community of hardworking, responsible Indian and Pakistani immigrants. Doctor or Lawyer or Engineer: these were the options available; it was a joke and it was not a joke. There were shrugs and stillborn conversations, there was the friend of my father’s whose response to my chosen college major was open-mouthed shock:
It’s been years since I’ve had to justify my career choices to others of my diaspora. This speaks perhaps both to a measure of my own success as well as the increasing exposure and influence of other artists from my ethnic background, working steadily and provocatively in their mediums, bringing new ideas to tables previously reserved for only one or two kinds of people.
Last night I learned that one of my relatives passed away suddenly. I didn’t see him often, as he lived up in Canada, but the few times I did see him he was such a lively and sparkling human being, intelligent and generous of spirit, with a family who are much the same as him. He was also one of the first of my community to say to my parents, unconditionally:
“Let him do this.”
It was powerful for my parents to hear it from him and it was powerful for me to hear he’d said this to my parents. I owe much to him and it breaks my heart that he’s gone.