“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
There are currently 22.5 million refugees in the world; over half of them are children. They have fled violence, conflict, and intense persecution in the hope that the rest of the world will show some humanity. These three boys fled violence and persecution in Afghanistan, undertook perilous journeys with their families, and landed in a refugee camp in Greece where I met them. One of them trailed me all day, wanting to play, laugh, hold hands and watch me draw. The others scuffled in the dirt, took turns on the one bicycle in the camp, bossed the younger children, annoyed the teenage girls, struck endless ‘peace’ and ‘love’ poses for the camera, and generally got underfoot, all with the youthful optimism of a Cub Scout. Their future is uncertain and their past is gone forever. This precarious position could understandably inspire fear, mistrust and despair. Yet so often it is the children who are able to rise above the rhetoric of fear and show us all what humanity really means.
(This painting will hang in the 'Certain Women' art show in Salt Lake City and Provo, UT from March 2 - May 5, 2018. Full image coming to the website soon...)