What a nice thing to do

January 24, 2009

   Drawing by Jaap Groenendal


A friend and I had a meaningful conversation about a meaningful activity he was engaged in.  We were both at a social event and our exchange was  such a welcome change from the small talk we could easily have fallen into.

M has kept all the handmade Christmas cards he’s  received over the years. He’s a grandpa now, so we’re talking about 25 years or more of cards here. He’s started sorting the cards per sender/maker, and  told me how touched he was by seeing the work change across the years.  He described one artist’s series where there was always a sort of landscape with certain features you had to look for in the drawing such as a finger or a snail. These items would recur every year in different places and guises (see example above).
He told me about all this lovingly done work he’d received, and how he appreciated it enough to keep it.  I immediately imagined an exhibition or website showing these series and each artist”s development over a span of more than two decades.  M isn’t really that active on the web, so I don’t think this unique collection will be shared with a larger public. 

But what I really liked about this project, is that after he has finished collating the various series, he plans to get in touch with each of the people who so faithfully sent him hand made cards and visit with them to show them the cards they sent and appreciate them together.

I don’t know M that well, but the kind of caring this gesture reveals, really touched me.

ps M is one of my fellow artists-in-healthcare,  he is a story teller. I was at a workshop day today with 13 other artists from Beter Gezelschap and, as always, I was  struck by what a good bunch they all are.

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