Nyaera is sixteen years old and is visiting Canada from a small village in Kenya. She is shy and does not enter into conversation easily. Her English is exquisite. I felt that she conversed out of duty rather than out of instinct or pleasure. Or perhaps her reluctance was because I am so much older than she is, and she was taught to give me respect,(before I had earned it), based on my wrinkles. I could see her searching for the right answers rather than the authentic ones. We all do this at times. When we measure our conversation, we dilute who we are and real relationships never gain the viscosity of thick luxurious paint.
Nyaera had never painted before, never lifted a brush to a canvas, never felt paint on her fingers. She jumped in without hesitation, stencils, spray paint and when mixing colours she discovered a fondness for apple green, gold leaf and bronze. She smiled and laughed and belonged to all of us. Belonged without hesitation, an equal in a class of adults. An artist free to create and express.
My one regret, from this inaugural 'Sheels On Wheels Mobile Art Class' is this, I should have brought extra canvases. I would have happily supplied as many as she wanted to paint. I would have stayed until she couldn't paint anymore. Until she fell asleep in the grass. To witness the joy of a butterfly emerging from the cocoon, is entirely the magic of art.