TRACE OF A FRIENDSHIP
Honesty = equality
what a fine language
Norwegian is but not my Norwegian but
this is about
you not me my dear
I remember well the day some years ago when I
from some heavy session - that was characteristic of who I was then
'characteristic' is a word I
have learned from you
and there a note
in my mailbox
Hi Kate Pendry - said the note - I'm
your neighbor and
my friend Shwan Abdoullah
is a student at the Art Academy he's
doing a masters
and want to meet you
if that''s possible
to talk about work
Here is his number
and the first thing I thought was
that someone has used my actual mailbox to get in touch with me and
the second thing I thought was that I need more contact with
because I am afraid of them
and it is true
and I should be ashamed but
it was true but
not true now
We met and you were sick. Your face was pale and slightly blue and also
grey because your heart was about to give up
and could barely pump blood
But that was not something you talked about much, just in passing and you did not complain
and you've never complained
and I apologise for my poor Norwegian
he poverty of words
but I do not paint, or if I do
only with words
So we talked about your art, you
needed a tutor for your Masters
and I almost laughed
because you of all I the guys I've ever met, you were one who needed no tutor
maybe just someone who could help carry your shield
for a while
I saw documentation of your art work that day if
I remember correctly
we sat in that meeting and I cried but not so that you could see
and I thought
Bloody hell and bless my hat, I've discovered a genius.
You have done well in supplying me with endless cups of coffee when we work together.
You drink tea, but I need coffee.
We have talked about everything under the sun and that has been part of the work
but it has never been work
when I work with you.
We never talk about the Labour Party in particular. They have hurt you, you and yours. I support them.
I'm not ashamed.
We've talked about Saddam eh? What a shit head!
We've talked about Breivik.
About New Year's Eve 2011, when the firework-rockets flew over Oslo, and we agreed it was not so fucking
We've talked about mothers. You had a happy childhood and were never beaten. I, the reverse. You who survived a war. I, who didn't. You who waited twelve years for an answer from the immigration office, and I just three weeks. You are a man.
We like Obama. You laughed in the hospital - they had opened you up to fix your beautiful broken heart. You lay in bed and I cried but not so that you could see. And I had bought an historic issue of Time magazine to you, with Barack Obama on the front page. Because it seemed that finally there was hope.
And the day came and the day came, the day I sat on a bus to Skien and you called and I did not have
I had time
but that day l was heavy with with depression so you said
- you've always called me dear
just wanted to say
I - that they gave me residency
I can stay
And I whooped out loud so loud the driver glanced in the mirror -
then back at the road cos there was
and this time I did not hide my tears because it is the only time in my life I have
cried with joy.
I could write a book about my journey with you my friend.
Maybe I should. Maybe it's already begun.
We two cheerful, militant humanists: we who know the difference between shit and cinnamon.
You are cinnamon, brother. You are art.
And I think
the world is a better place
The Spirit Art Centre Skien. April 6, 2013
Opening of The Salt Kiss I, II and III - Shwan Dler Qaradaki.