Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Life is calling

Life is calling. It is a tag line for an alcohol advertisement. A boy approaches his window with trepidation and curiosity while a crowd of flame throwers, cheerleaders, horsemen and assorted interesting people gather several storeys below, looking up at his window expectantly, encouraging him to emerge from his room and see the world. Life is calling. I like that.

Windows. Sometimes you're inside, looking out. Sometimes outside, looking in at a life you'd like to have. Paintings in motion. They greet you with your changing life. Outside, over time it becomes hot, then cool, then cold, then warm, then it rains, and you know you've become older. Outside you see a building constructed painstakingly, watch the floors rise, and remember when there was nothing there. In the distance there is a golf course where once were mangroves. But I think more and more that over time the window frame disappears and you see age in everything.

These days there are pigeons outside windows, doing the things that pigeons do. The males dance, sometimes launching themselves at the ladies as they land on the parapet. The alarmed females do not take to the immediate acquaintance kindly and take flight, leaving the males confused. The colours outside have changed, too. No longer are shadows dark and defined, and naturally dark surfaces shimmer. In the distance there are dark gray hills with pointy peaks from where black specks appear every afternoon and circle the skies in search of food. They leave a few hours later with their beaks, claws and bellies full. Jets fly overhead and vanish into puffs of white. Below, a shiny autorickshaw chugs along the center of a narrow road. Dogs laze about, raising their heads and then themselves out of danger's way.

Pigeons become more than crapping machines, kites evoke awe when they glide by at an arm's length away, and planes take us with them. The objects in the painting become larger, more open to scrutiny, like an art history criticism course which applies to real life.

'Life is calling' is nice, but a comfortable simplification of a larger idea. No cheerleaders or flame throwers here. Just a dog, a few birds, and a plane. Figure out what you will.

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