• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Saturday, 16 November 2019 07:00

Swirl Searching - Discovering who we are

 

2019.68c.Swirly Swirls.main blog image

It started as a cheeky addition to my artwork. I was in an art class with the girls in youth justice when it happened. I do not claim to be particularly talented, so the majority of the 'art' I do consists of experiments with colour and pattern, but I was rather enjoying my swirly swirls as they were somehow becoming mesmerizing to me. But then I moved across the room to talk to one of the girls, leaving my burgeoning artwork alone. I returned not long after to see one of the girls smiling at me, with the kind of look that says, 'hmm when will you realise why I am looking at you this way'. I glanced down and saw that she had added a swirl to my picture, but to my 'alarm' it was distinctively different for she had drawn it in a black marker. I simply decided to thank her for the addition and carried on as I had been, adding more orange, blue and green swirls to my paper. 

Some ten minutes, and many swirls later I again left my seat, and even the room for around five minutes. When I again returned to my artwork, it had again had swirls added to it that were not my own. This time however, they were not black, but the other colours I had been using. The difference this time was that my artist friend, who I will call Millie, had drawn them much larger than my own. She proudly preceded to point out to me all the ones that she had added, as if it was difficult to tell the difference. 

For a reason I could not immediately articulate, this experience seemed to be significant to me. It would not leave my mind, and the more I pondered it, the more I realised there was a lesson in it for me. I came to see it as a metaphor for the struggle these young people (an probably all of us to some degree) face in discovering and understanding our identity.

Each of us want to fit in, to belong, perhaps symbolised by Millie adding spirals, the same shape to my artwork. There are also ways that we need to conform – in the positive sense of the word – in order to be members of a group, or of society as a whole. Yet it is also important to remain ourselves in a crowd which Millie demonstrated by using a different colour or a different size spiral to what I did.

One thing is for certain and that is that each of us are called to conform to Jesus, but let us remember that this may well look different for each of us. Let us also encourage and challenge each other so that each of us can more fully discover the gift of who we are.

Mel Edwards