In Bengal I encountered a interesting definition of the artist;
"A saddhu sat with his students under a tree. One student asked, "What is an artist?" The saddhu answered:
"Two birds sat in a tree. In Bengal people believe that feeding birds brings luck and soon someone came and scattered seed. One bird flew down to peck, calling to his friend, "There's plenty, come and eat!" But the other bird only looked on. Soon the first bird called again, "Come on! Come and eat!" But the second bird simply watched.
"In this world", said the sadhu, there are two kinds of people. Most are the bird eating. Some are the bird watching. The artist is both."
Peripatetic art practice is for me about being with the world and its immediacies. Like the story of the two birds, I am responding to the idea that art emerges from considering the experience of life, my observations of changes in culture and environment, and the invitations of others.
This form of art practice invokes archetypal ideas of the Storyteller, Wanderer, Volunteer, Healer, and Activist. I put myself out in the world, proximate to issues on the ground where my work becomes about listening, being with, and storying my experiences of and with others.
This is a challenging form of art practice as it positions me in the vulnerable state of the transient and draws me to work in unfamiliar contexts where I may not know the language, environment, or culture. But though a storyteller might never belong anywhere in particular, the idea that they belong with the story that needs to be told is a powerful one. I might always working out and through “the anxiety of rootlessness” but in a strange way, I am also returning home.