In Bengal I encountered an idea of the artist in the following story;
"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 offers opportunities to notice subtle changes in culture and environment and thus meaningful ways of relating to the world. Reflecting the story of the two birds, works I make emerge out of and account for the transient life. Peripatetic art practice also invokes archetypal ideas of the Artist, the Storyteller, the Wanderer, the Volunteer, and the Healer with which I am placing myself out in the world, proximate to issues on the ground. My work becomes that of listening, being with others, acting in solidarity with, and in service of others, motivated by these powerful archetypes.
This is not a comfortable art practice, located precariously at a moving nexus of anthropology, art, and spirituality. Practically I am drawn to work in unfamiliar contexts and cultures where I do not know people, language or mores such that art becomes a viewing lens, a way of reaching out. A storyteller might never belong anywhere in particular, but they do belong wherever is the story that needs to be told. I might always working out and through' the innate uncertainty and mutability of journeys with “the anxiety of rootlessness” but in this way I am always returning home.