One person halfway across the world, an artisan, has brought me the simple joy from experiencing her created beauty. I may not know her story, but I want to tell her that she has impacted mine.
“Knowing the story of one person can change the perception of a whole people, of an entire place, its culture and history, and even a war. Knowing the story of one person tells us more than we might not have ever known.”
This is what my friend Sushmita Mazumdar tells me when I ask her the question which has been on my mind lately, why do we care about a person halfway across the globe? Through her StudioPause, Sush’s creative and community work often confronts stereotypes and invites new perspectives through art, writing, and stories.
As if led to more insight, I come across this:
“…how interconnected we are, how our action and our inaction can impact people we might never know, and never meet, every day of our lives, all around the world”.
This is from Jacqueline Novogratz, innovative founder of Acumen, a nonprofit venture fund, sharing the story of the blue sweater (she had donated it to charity as a girl, only to find it a decade later on a boy in Rwanda, confirmed by seeing her name written on the tag).
I love what both of these women are saying. They both speak of a genuine truth born out of their own experience.
When I ask myself that question, why do I care about a person halfway across the globe, my first leaning is towards artisans. It is because they bring a rich beauty into the world that is unlike my own.
For as long as I can remember, I have gravitated towards the beauty in other cultures as if to fill a void experienced in my own American culture. The beauty of other cultures has always allured and illuminated my senses, and in particular handcrafted objects that offer a glimpse into another’s ritual and daily life. By my engaged curiosity, I can feel a connection to the object, to the person who made it, and to the energy that is expressed from the creator’s hands.
As an artist, I wish I could do what they do. I am in awe. I have such respect and admiration it’s almost embarrassing. I fall in love. One person halfway across the world, an artisan, has brought me the simple joy from experiencing her created beauty. I may not know her story, but I want to tell her that she has impacted mine.
I want to do whatever I can to create sustainable opportunities for her and other artisans to continue to do what they do and to honor their unique cultural identity and heritage.
And with that, share a glimpse of their cultural beauty with other people halfway across the globe.