I've always known that art was valuable, if for no other reason than the fact that it's given me an outlet, a way to express myself. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I've never really understood the value of art to the people experiencing the art, the viewer. I always thought that it would be cool to make murals in the city, but only because it would be a job where they would pay me to design and paint, not necessarily because I thought it would impact a community or even an individual. After Peru, I'm thinking that art is valuable, not just to the creator but to the viewer as well.
To see how excited the kids were about the new mural of sheeps vs alpacas playing soccer was awesome. It was also amazing to see how their cement wall was transformed into bright shapes and colors. Painting the mural was a beautiful experience.
Image stolen from Seth's Blog.
Another thing that was beautiful was that in a lot of ways my going on the Peru trip started with my pictures of strangers project. Me wandering around Philly making friends by taking their photo...and that turning into t-shirts from howies...which turned into money for Peru. I was surprised to find out that cameras bring people together in Peru too. (this is silly, I know, but really I was surprised).
People get excited to get their photo taken, it makes them feel special. It acknowledges their presence and importance. I think there's something really special about portraits.
Their image also remains in my permanent collection, and thereby in some strange way a permanent part of my life. I can never forget these kids or my experience with them.
Being the one with the camera gives you confidence too, it breaks down your walls and helps you interact with people you would never have the guts to talk to in the first place. I was so thankful for my huge polaroid on this trip.
I love these kids.