I love these people and want the same for them. One of our seniors feels especially strong about wanting to be helpful. He stays late to clean up after every class. He won't let me or any of the teachers lift a finger to do anything. He delegates tasks to his friends in the class. He could probably run the program if anything happened to me. Every time he sees Abe, he slips him a dollar bill in his pocket. He never leaves for the day without asking if there is anything else that needs to be done.
This senior is an especially wonderful artist. His work is full of subdued color and rhythm. The man's name means "peaceful." The same is true of his art, so it was no surprise to us when a mother on the east coast bought through the etsy shop three of his pieces to hang in her 18-month-old son's nursery. She asked for a photo of the artist with the pieces she bought. I obliged her, asking if in return, she would send me a photo of her son with the art. I want to show the artist. I want him to see that he is making his world better. I want him to see that his artwork is bringing an authentic piece of Ethiopia to an Ethiopian adoptee's world. This is beauty.
Last week, we got to take our seniors to see their art on display. It was an incredible moment to watch the faces of these artists see for the first time their art hung in frames in a public space. I couldn't stop smiling as I walked among these seniors, watching them 'behold' their creativity on display. I felt, once again, immeasurably proud to be a part of this beautiful community of African seniors.
Not too long ago, this beautiful lady couldn't write her name; now she proudly autographs every work of art she creates.
Their art continues to be on display through the month of November (we'd originally been told through October, but I think the owner is digging the happy vibes this art brings to his shop). You can visit it at YoChoice Yogurt on Northeast 50th Avenue and Fremont Street. You can also buy prints of the art online at www.africaneldersofpdx.etsy.com.