I felt inspired to write a blog post after many months of being overworked. I kept postponing sitting down to write something – it seems I’m imperfect. However, I have to thank the Rodin exhibition at Tate Modern and the audio guide, in room 6 for giving me the inspiration to do so…

The inspiration

Auguste Rodin Main droite de Pierre et Jacques de Wissant 1885–86 Musée Rodin, S.00332

As a disabled man, I am used to mess. I enjoy looking at things that are incomplete and messy. I see myself represented in some of these forms because they are incomplete, imperfect. I find it interesting that others find this as violent because that’s not my take. It’s actually the opposite. I find it human.

Dan Daw, Tate EY Exhibition: The Making of Rodin

Why it resonates

It was an emotional take on Rodin and I think we can all relate to some extent with that – I know I can. I do have parts in me that I consider incomplete, imperfect and messy. And perhaps most importantly, those parts have the greatest need of representation when I interact with the outer world. Because in a world that consistently tries to be something that is not (i.e. young, perfect, a cover of a magazine’s idea of beautiful – i.e. generically beautiful) being able to honor and connect with the imperfect parts of me that are messy is almost a debt or a moral obligation.

The work of Frida Kahlo and emotional vulnerability

And I think of Frida Kahlo – the Mexican artist who painted her struggles and was able to transform the intense suffering and continued living passionately with her condition. She said:

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too.

Frida Kahlo
The Two Fridas, Frida Kahlo, 1939

Being imperfect – Being lonely and feeling left out

This connects me to the idea of loneliness and not fitting in. It seems that we all struggle with some form of that – perhaps an inherent flaw in the way society is structured which makes us strive for that. Just think of the Tears for Fears anthem of the ’80s “Mad World”.

…Went to school and I was very nervous

No one knew me, no one knew me

Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson

Look right through me, look right through me

Tears for Fears, Mad World Lyrics

Those lyrics describe some emotions that we all have felt at least a few times growing up.

What kind of society do we want?

Thinking about the greater picture for a moment, how have we collectively created a society that is unhealthy and believes in ostracizing and easy fixes (right – wrong, victim – prosecutor)? How do we fail to see how we are all together creating this? Currently, at a time of growing concerns for the survival of the environment and the planet and a time where we are at least partially realising our responsibility for having something to pass on to future generations, all these concerns around imperfection, loneliness and our most vulnerable parts seem more relevant than ever.

Can we perhaps dare to be imperfect and be seen as such?

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