UBUNTU was the origin for “Anonymous”.
During the developing stage of "Ubuntu", I visited construction sites for an extensive period of time. In one of my visits to these places I stumbled upon a worn out shoe. My attention was immediately seduced by it. This boot belonged to one of the workers there. A boot with a history, thrown out due to its attrition. A useless piece, covered by excess of cement.
I picked the shoe and brought it back with me to my studio. I kept working on my book Ubuntu while simultaneously developing another piece of work... But this boot, in the far corner of my studio intrigued me.
Why was I fascinated by it?
The research for my work “Ubuntu” moved forward as I kept on visiting construction sites. Another day, another worn out boot. I picked it and brought it back home. Days went by as I continued visiting sites. My obsession with these forgotten objects was high. It became a quest. I began searching for more of these torn, ignored, forgotten shoes. I always found just one shoe, never came upon a complete pair. Same story: I would spot them and I would bring them back with me.
I continued working on other pieces of art but these boots were almost screaming at me.
They wanted to serve a purpose, become more than an obsession.
One day, any given day, I started painting some of these boots. I was definitely intrigued by them. I painted each shoe gradually, with no sense of judgement or any kind of specific thought. When night arrived I would anxiously wait for the new day so I could go back to my studio and communicate with the shoes, while trying to understand what they were saying. Visitors in my studio would often say to me that they considered “the boots idea” a complete and utter waste of time. I would only close my eyes and feel the urge, a strong necessity to keep painting them. My obsession drove me to yet another level: now I wanted to decorate them. Turn them into something graceful, beautify these objects. It was my way of thanking these men, honor them? I thought that these boots would become a deserved homage…
But NO! Today I realize this was not what it is. YES! I come closer to my truth as a human being through constant questioning, through my concerns of our existence as humans. This truth reaches deeper and farther.
This truth has shown me, with time, that nothing is what it seems thus I become more and more observant.
Metaphors… I understood that this is sour way of getting rid of everything that does not “serve US a purpose”, “objects we have no need for”. Our daily obligations and routines makes us indifferent towards others.
As I painted each worthless shoe I would hold them in my hands as if they were a most precious element. Today I feel that these boots are objects which exceed the value of any jewel. Metaphors… I understand life through metaphors.
I got used to people looking at me with disgust everytime I would pick up one of these dirty, precious objects. They would inquire how I was able to carry them without feeling repulsed. Today, the same people who felt disgusted by them, look at the finished piece, painted and decorated, and I see them smile. They even say they would want to own one.
Interesting, I thought. I had never seen it that way but now I understand.
All I have left to say is that “Anonymous” is a work of art that springs from the heart. “Anonymous” is organically human.
As I worked on the beautification of these shoes the only thoughts and emotions on my mind were those of kindness towards others. I am human as well and because no matter how different we are, in this World’s masterpiece, we are all important. Even if we walk as anonymous we all are important!
Copyright 2014. TATI OSSA (CLARA I. OSSA) . All Rights Reserved.
Original text in Spanish: Clara Ossa - Tati Ossa (2004 - 2015)
Web page design: Mariale Arboleda (2015)
Curated and translated: Nicolas Marquez (2015)