This week’s Colour Me Positive art journal theme was “Celebrate”. I think the idea of the prompt was for it to be personal and reflective, asking participants to celebrate something about themselves. However, my immediate idea was for a wider scope. I wanted to create a page inspired by a celebration of diversity.
Apologies for getting political for a moment but I have been rather despondent this past week following the Brexit referendum back home in the UK, despondent and livid actually. I have always felt Scottish first and European second – never British oddly enough – so I was dismayed by the rejection of Europe as an institution. I have been even more disheartened by many reports of a seemingly related increase in racial and xenophobic incidents. It seems that for some all of the chatter about “taking back Britain” is about going all the way back to Anglo-Saxon homogeneity. I feel that Britain is and always has been the richer for all of its cultural absorption and assimilation, its thriving immigrant communities, its diversity, and I think Britain will be impoverished should it be permitted to become more insular, less tolerant, less welcoming, less inclusive. Of course, here in America too we are facing an election that has been dominated by a lot of loud talk about exclusion and intolerance. The politics of fear and hate are festering on both shores of the Atlantic.
That was very much on my mind as I sat down to work in my journal this week. I, therefore, chose to celebrate diversity, multiculturalism, difference, the spectrum of human existence, the things that elevate human existence from dull monochrome and make it vibrant and bright and interesting. Since there are Pride celebrations happening all over the globe this month too it was not a stretch to think of the symbolism of the rainbow to symbolise that celebration of diversity. My art journal page, therefore, is an ink and watercolour illustration of a girl twirling in a rainbow coloured ribbon, so many complicated thoughts and feelings distilled into one simple image.