I live really close to China Town, one of my favorite places to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. It reminds me of the markets in Nigeria. How they lay their wares on the streets and the high number of people who flock in and out of the shops and stalls. I also love the diversity of people in it, though the Chinese dominate this area, you find traces of people from all races and places. It attracts tourists, shoppers and people with other interests.
There I was on this beautiful mid day, just passing through. The sun was at its peak and the weather really nice. I spotted this man, he sparked my interest because for many reasons, he clearly stood out. He had a long reddish beard and hair that covered his face. He looked Irish. He was further hidden by his hood like he was hiding from himself. But he had a very calm disposition as he chilled and dragged the smoke from his cigarette in and out of his lungs while sipping on a can of soda. He sat by a wall decorated in Chinese inscriptions which I could not interpret.
Days later , I saw him on another street close by picking the garbage. I watched him from the side of my eye and wondered, if only he knew he had now become the subject of my painting. I thought about him about , I still wonder what his story is. I guess this will always be a mystery to me. There are many like him who have a story to tell. I feel like it is my artistic responsibility to capture people like him, in understanding the diversity of the land I now call home.
“A Drink and a Smoke in China Town” 30 x 24 inches, will be featured in my solo show titled ,”Rebirth” taking place at the Joyce Gordon Gallery , 406 14th street, downtown Oakland between Broadway and Telegraph, from March 6 – April 25th. Opening reception is on March 6, 6-9pm.
For more information please visit http://ninafabunmi.com and http://www.joycegordongallery.com