I would like to start this essay by reflecting on a drawing that caught my attention after our visit to Clark Atlanta University Art Gallery. This painting depicts my thoughts on how the perspective that a person chooses to “read” and “interpret” an issue (in this specific case the issue is the painting) can lead to a whole different direction and conclusion.
Having intentionally no information about the artist, the background and the concept of this specific piece of art, it allows me to open my mind and think with freedom and creativity about the message that this picture might represent, as well as the different feelings that could instill to the audience.
This drawing highlights a positive and optimistic message
In my opinion, this drawing highlights a positive and optimistic message. In the upper, right corner of the picture, we can see a mass of symbols that are small in size and number but they increase significantly in both terms as we are gradually moving to the second part. That said, and as we continue “translating” the painting from the top to the bottom, the symbols become more rigorous and strong in the third part until they reach to the fourth subpart where all of them are transformed to black squares, having the exact same size, color (we no longer experience the existence of 2 different colours) and are integrally connected to one another. Eventually the picture comes to an end with all that symbols taking the shape of drops which, according to my interpretation, represent tears. These are tears of joy and a result of the mature change, the transformation, the evolution and the development that occurred in the first parts until we could finally reach to the establishment of equity and equality.
The dominant existence of two colors – black and white – and the absence of more vivid and colorful elements witnesses that something bad is about to occur.
In my opinion, this painting highlights a negative and pessimistic message. At the very first look, the dominant existence of two colors – black and white – and the absence of more vivid and colorful elements witnesses that something bad is about to occur. Moreover, I can see that this drawing has 5 parts, an observation which represents division. Inequality is also another obvious substance of this picture as the subparts have different size, number and are structured in their own, strictly well defined spaces. Eventually, the picture reaches an end (“reading” it again from the top to the bottom) with drops that represent the state of bleeding, blood that derives from the inequality, injustice and conflict that took place in the first parts.
In my opinion, this painting symbolizes the different perspectives and the symbols represent the people.
The John Fellowship Program was a fascinating and very constructive experience for me as it was an intellectual, social, psychological and collaborative learning process which instilled in me the foundations of a future long term procedure of structuring a path towards self development and human rights advancement. During this intense and interesting trip, I came in contact with valuable ideas, ideologies, opinions and facts that were unknown to me so far. This was a result of my exposure to new information, thus gaining broad and precious knowledge, after having controversial discussions with people from different backgrounds and being inspired by but also critical to admirable speakers.
Everyone should be held accountable for what happens and what doesn’t happen and that there is always an opportunity for a change.
My key takeaway is that everyone should be held accountable for what happens and what doesn’t happen and that there is always an opportunity for a change. This message is itself very optimistic and motivating, either you are the one that leads a movement or by helping and advocating an idea by utilizing any means that you possess. Firstly, it is really important to always doubt yourself, being prepared and willingful to change your mind when entering a dialog, whose purpose should be the establishment of the truth and the implementation of actions that will contribute to the common good. That said, it is vital to talk to people, listen to their thoughts and ask for their feedback so that you will be able to get a better understanding of their needs and current environment, rather than proceeding to false assumptions. Moreover, the perspective that you choose to examine the facts and form an opinion about a specific issue is of great significance and can vary among people depending on their attitude and personality, knowledge and education, self-involvement and past experiences. Therefore, the approach should always be modified so that it can engage both people and their communities more effectively and hopefully address their problems in a more collective and coherent way. For this purpose the observation and analysis of the facts together with the acknowledgement of historical, societal and individual background with respect and empathy should always constitute our main tools. Additionally, I was overwhelmed and I am really interested in identifying and studying the relation between different terms that are integrally connected to the rebuilding of a fair, equal and democratic civic society, in which human rights would be the center and people would always be the priority. That said, I would like to examine and specify the connection between resistance and fear, as well as the pattern in which truth, mercy, peace and justice could simultaneously be achieved in a proportion that would be both realistically implemented and sustainably maintained. Adding to the aforementioned in terms of how the perspective that you see things can change your holistic approach, it is crucial to realize that some changes and forces, regardless of their nature, cannot be paused or prevented. As there are many different strategies and tactics which can be used to deal with and abandon those narratives, again the perspective that you will choose is decisive, together with the customized approach. This may even include in some cases the utilization of what is regarded as “vulnerability” as an advantage, when used strategically under specific conditions.
I am planning to be actively involved in concrete projects by utilizing the community empowerment tactics that I’ve learned together with my writing skills and my interest to engage people through innovative means of art and development of safe and creative environments for them to interact and express themselves without any boundaries.
In regards to my future social work, this would be concentrated on the effort to contribute to the achievement of a smooth transition in the societal changes that will inevitably happen, so that the process and their final results would be the most beneficial for the parties involved. In this framework, I will give emphasis on the people that are more vulnerable to the potential negative effects, hence more probably to be manipulated or victimized in any terms. I am planning to be actively involved in concrete projects by utilizing the community empowerment tactics that I’ve learned together with my writing skills and my interest to engage people through innovative means of art and development of safe and creative environments for them to interact and express themselves without any boundaries. Another very important thing that I’ve learned and I will have in mind in every action that I am going to be occupied, is that you have to study and deeply understand the systematic direct or hidden mechanisms that are mobilized for propaganda as well as for the specific norms to be created, and the basis on where those have been structured on. To be more specific, I will focus on the empowerment of people in order for them to be politically educated and active within the community both by acknowledging their rights and by utilising their skills, crafts and talents to the fullest. Here the importance of the community is determinant since people have a strong base and can be heard only when they have a strong bond and support by their community. Moreover, I learned that you can’t influence positively nor enlighten all people, but what you can do by all means is decide who are the people that you want to help and are open to any change or at least to a meaningful dialog. Under this umbrella, it is worthy to highlight the importance of waiting for and identifying the “teachable” moment. For this to be met, people that are involved in movements as social workers should never lose sight of who they are serving and they should be able to collaborate with them hand in hand while also taking the time that they need to reflect on and taking care of themselves as well. After all, there is nothing more dangerous than always talking to people that agree with you and have the same perspective as you. If you do that, you will lose the chance to engage with people that have different views and test once again yourself in your own self-development process.
In a nutshell, I would like to close this thesis by mentioning a remarkable phrase of a greek poet, Kazantzakis, who said “You have the brushes, you have the colors, draw heaven and get inside”.