down but not out

When I told a friend of mine how I walked home the other night, well after midnight from the train station, passing a known down-and-out sitting in front of the petrol station, having a last drink and greeting me – ‘been somewhere nice?’, I admitted I like him, I like seeing him.

Reflecting on that moment, I am reminded of my favourite German painter, Otto Pankok who in the 1920s moved out of academia to find his subjects among the quirky travellers in Dusseldorf. Without idealising he paints them beautiful. They are, they must be, in his eyes. And in one of the catalogs about his work I read the painter’s own words:  Those strong ones have to be at the bottom, they are carrying the world. Of course, you have to take their beauty and its representation into account to really understand the painter’s stance on social justice.

~ by Barbara S on April 13, 2019.

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