Each Faces has a story behind it.
This is an invitation to take a minute to find out what people are secretly thinking.
Just press play and after a few seconds ....... their voices will tell their story.
He spied on me with one eye sticking out of an imposing canvas he seemed comfortable disappearing behind. The protective shield was an interlace of threads, yarns, thoughts and tears woven tightly enough to hold it all together. Appearing tall and robust. No room for gaps. For holes. Or everything could fall apart. Invisibility was key. The artist refuge. He let me talk, the more I spoke the more he painted. And as I began confessing my sins, the shield morphed into a confessional’s partition, no latticed opening, just hermetically sealed fabric. On the one side the penitent, her pain on display, metaphorically kneeling awaiting absolution, on the other, the priest, hidden inside his own chamber taking it all in and turning my words, my history, into colour and shapes.
As I set and let him scan me for information, I thought of how delighted and devastated not having control over my image made me feel. Giving me the illusion of presence while also reducing me to a tool. A tool that better stay still, hair coiffed on the one side, leaving my other shoulder naked. Chin up, eyes to the left searching for something. My mouth, the only part of my body allowed movement. Maybe he’ll leave it for last, if he paints it now with this endless barrage of words rolling out of it, I’ll end up with a Pollock-esque mess dripping all over my chin.
I was dying to see Her. For hours I had painted her in my mind with bright primary colours. She was fierce, imperial. Her eyes tenacious and wise, her cheekbones sharp, her translucent skin framed by glorious cascading dark waves. A modern-day Cleopatra. Sure, she was capable of heinous crimes but only in the name of love, justice and self-preservation. She sounded grandiose and would look divine emerging proud out of a background of lush broad golden strokes.
So, I insisted. Begged to make her acquaintance. I needed to start venerating her, she was a pharaoh after all. I just hoped he’d been kind with the size of my nose, which was another painful feature I had in common with the temptress of the Nile. I was optimistic, he’d surely chosen to make me resemble Elizabeth Taylor’s Hollywood version of Cleopatra, instead of history’s one.
Reluctantly he gave in to my pedantic request, like a parent of a needy child that knows better than caving to her every whim but that is exhausted by the weight of parenthood and just gives up. I sprinted from my chair with abandon… and there she was. Sad and old, worlds apart from the empress I’d envisioned. This woman had grown up miles away from the Nile. She’d never ruled a country. She was frail and weak. Ready to break. Her naked shoulder, nothing sensual, she just looked exposed and uncomfortable. I wanted to cover her up.
This was more than the usual dissonance between who I thought I was and what image the world had of me. Or he had of me. For as much as I hated her sight, and I truly did, she was inescapably familiar. I went back to my chair and set down. Sad and disillusioned, my face was now resembled hers. I realised he hadn’t been interested in painting my joie de vivre, my cheekiness, my strength, my pride. He’d found my weakness deliciously appealing instead.
I set now quietly and passively, noticing her image age at an alarming rate in front of my eyes. She looked like an ancient version of that scared little girl I once was. I hadn’t wanted to deal with her for decades. She was a whiny little bitch that didn’t have tough enough skin to deal with the world. Why would he paint her? Did he not see me? Who I was? Who I had fought tooth and nail to become?
As the painting developed, she got smaller and smaller. I was afraid she’d disappear. I didn’t want her to die. My hatred for her weakness and inadequacy abated till it turning into complete compassion. By the end of it, I didn’t care what the world saw, or he saw. Because I saw her. She had multiple universes within her. She was weakness and she was resilience. I wanted her to explode out of that painting, to own her lines, her colours, her shape, her story. I rooted for her. Now that she had someone on her side, I knew she’ll be fine. And that instantly put a smile on my face.