Went to see an exhibition today and yesterday in the Pacifico shopping centre in Florida street. Big opulant centre, full of Yves Sant Laurant shops and Lacoste, etc., and at the top of it, a huge amount of space devoted to art. The first section had paintings which were almost photographic they were so detailed and exact, and the second room had some amazing sculptures - a huge wire brain hung suspended from the ceiling, slowly rotating, whilst lights projected different shadows of the object onto a white wall. On the opposite wall, a huge green set of lungs with hundreds of pink balloons representing the expanding and retracting section of the lung - filling and deflating with air, giving the impression of actual breathing. Amazing to watch, and somewhat hypnotic!!
The next room housed the section we had sought out - the World Press Photography exhibition. Wow! The photos touched me in a way I had forgotten I could be - even in my few weeks of travel. You become somewhat desensithised to the women begging at street corners, or the ten year old juggler pathetically stuffed into a clown suit four sizes too small for her in order to garner more change from the subway travellers, or the old man washing his socks in the fountain outside the botanical gardens, or the old woman shouting abuse at you for walking through her ´house´ on the edge of the street. These photos brought all the emotion back to me with a bang! I can´t ignore all that´s done in the world - all that´s done in the name of money, and greed, and selfishness, and just out and out cruelty. Photos of Palestine, and children lying dead in the streets. Of Lebanon, refugee camps filled with the displaced. Of American soldiers interogating people in their own home. Of boxing rings under the road underpass in Sao Paulo. Of slums and death and disease and sorrow.
In particular, as usual, I was affected by the photos of Africa. Children and adults strapped down in psychiatric hospitals, with the pain of war tearing at you straight from their eyes through the camera lens; Amputees playing football on dusty ground; Young girls selling themselves, or being sold by parents, as toys for passing men; Refugee camps filled with naked children, with distended bellies, and eyes calling to you from deep. And then the revelation - there is a mobile trailer that goes through African countries, showing films, and using this mass attraction to the magic of the movies to screen short teaching films on AIDS awareness and safe sex. And that one photo that makes me think again.....of a group of children, cross-legged on the floor of the trailer, eyes filled with happiness and joy, staring entranced at the silver screen. Tomorrow might bring more hunger, next month war, but for that moment in time, the camera has caught them as what they are and should be - children.
I think I would be a fool to ignore all the signs that point me more and more towards teaching, and helping, children in some way. If I don´t do something about it, I´ll regret it forever. I can´t sit back again and again watching the world get worse and just feel any chance of changing it slip away. I want to be part of the difference, and I want to do it soon.
So ends my drunken thoughts for tonight.......