Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I have taken a passport photo for humanity

I can't blame you all for taking a pass on, or at least taking your time, with my challenge to choose the passport photo for humanity. It is quite an assignment.

I borrowed the idea from Parry Harnden, a member of the International Surrealist Group. In his short story "Windbago," which opens The Somnambulist Footprints: A Collection of Surrealist Tales , Councilwoman Nancy Grimes says that Goya's Disasters of War "could serve as mankind's passport photo."

I'm holding out for a different and more flattering passport photo than "puking into the pile of corpses as you join them," as I described one of Goya's images from his war series when I sketched it in New York City, years ago.

Well, here is my idea: La Chambre Jaun (or, The Yellow Room) by Marc Chagall.

There's a house, some drink, some company, an animal who feels at home (and will provide nourishment, when needed). There is a bright, moony night and an inviting village outside the open door. There is a woman with her head upside down, a reminder of startling difference, of outrageous imagination, of what Malinowski called "the coefficient of weirdness".

That is humanity.

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