Saturday, February 12, 2011

Paulo Revisited

In December, 2010, I visited the Seattle Museum of Art.  There was a special exhibition of Pablo Picasso's works.  His cubism, African inspired period, classicism and surrealistic phases, the women he loved and portrayed and the surprising sculptures, and drawings all showed a depth and breadth of a man who lived his life translating creativity into tangible , touchable, poignant and evocative art.

One painting in particular caught my eye and I stood and stared for awhile.  A portrait of his young son, Paulo, hung amongst others, waiting for me to discover it.  In it, Paulo is dressed as a harlequin and is portrayed just as one would view him in real life.  His face and hair are photo-perfect, with an expression not of joy or loving or youthful exuberance, but what I interpret to be patience.

Picasso does not fill in all of the details for the viewer.  Paulo's feet and the ruffle around his neck are merely penciled in, as is the background of the painting and the rest of the chair.

As I begin my dissertation, I will keep this in mind.  An authethnography is much like this painting.  Perhaps not a virtuoso, but a framework from which to work.  I will give best detail of the important and telling parts of the picture, but the reader must fill in the spaces with their own interpretation.  And we, like Paulo, must be patient and allow the viewer to come to their own conclusions.  It is perhaps best this way.  My work, this dissertation, is but one piece of the greater body of my research, creative writing, and attempt to make sense of the world around me.


  1. BRILLIANT, I repeat--brilliant, attitude going into this project. It's gonna be a slog, but it doesn't define you or your body of work.

  2. Thanks! It's good to have a larger perspective going into this.