Make dreams come true. It’s one of the things I have strived to help others do in my own way throughout my career. Recently though, I have been very fortunate to make a dream of my own come true. As an artist I knew that the many colors of India would inspire many things. I also had a personal wish to find out some of the reasons why my grandfather chose to spend 22 years of his life there – far away from his native Scotland.
Finally I found the space in my commitments and the resources to travel to South India – a 15 day adventure travelling 1500 km, taking 1500 photographs and having at least 15000 different impressions imprinted in my mind and heart for all time. Here are just a few!
I am now working out how to build some of those impressions into a dedicated series of paintings. Watch this space to see what emerges from all that inspiration and fuzzy feelings about the immense warmth in the welcome from the Indian people I met. It didn’t take long to work out why my grandfather stayed so long.
Like many I observed India as a country of vast contrasts – from the immense natural beauty of Kerala with its lush tropical forests, tea and spice plantations to areas on the east coast with severe shortage of water. From state of the art modern architecture to magnificent ancient temples through to slum living accommodation. From access to high technology such as an old lady using a mobile phone in a tribal village to a family making house bricks by hand out of clay and mud. From high-class restaurants supported by those who can afford delicious gourmet Indian cuisine to vegetable markets providing basic necessities to those who can barely afford the most modest of purchases.
Witnessing first hand people consumed with surviving day-to-day living – one might well wonder how, we as one individual, can make a difference.
Mahatma Gandi is often quoted as saying ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ (although there is an alternative perspective on this quote). So with that in mind – I am consciously choosing to make a difference in a way that I can.
My former colleague Paul has often spoken to me about the Parikrma Humanity Foundation. He is personally involved in providing practical support. Through Paul I came to understand that if I made a donation to this organization it would most definitely make a direct impact. Perhaps once I start the Incredible India series of paintings – one of those can also make an impact – lets see.
As a change manager I came to realize that many many small steps are needed to bring about a larger change. Taking this step means that for one child their dreams may now come true. Impact – One child, one family, one community, one world. Make a difference. Enable change.
Shirley Smith is the artist behind shirleysmithart.com
Creating paintings that inspire happy thoughts