This past summer, I worked on an entry for The Faris Foundation's Art Is Hope contest. The foundation works to "bring brighter days and treatment to children with cancer". There are many contests to enter and many, many worthy causes to support but this particular one struck a chord.
The Foundation was created in response to the experience of young Faris Virani who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 6. Faris was an artist and write so apart from supporting cancer research, the foundation provides art program for children with cancer. Their program page features a direct from Faris: "Art is my life. Writing is in my blood".
That quote set me on fire.
Faris's words brought me back to the time when I was about his age and knew with absolute certainty that I was an artist, a time before doubt, a time when creativity roamed completely free, unimpeded, true. Faris and I are years apart, but I connect with the creative impulse that ran through him.
2020 has been a challenging and pivotal year; a time of questioning, doubt, experimentation, joy and hard work. Faris's words, his complete confidence and love for art, gave me a bolt of joy and energy. The Art is Hope contest is when I decided to finish a series of four large embroidered panels that I had started almost a year ago. "The Happiest Birds" (the entry I submitted), is one of the four. The colors are happy: magenta and gold. The forms are playful. This is the work that set me squarely on the path of producing joyful, spirt-filled work no matter what. Art is my life. I am giving this a go.
So, even though I am a grown-up in good health, the contest and the Faris foundation gave me hope. They strengthened my conviction that most of us are working hard every day, making the world just little bit better with our contributions. Life is tough and yes, there are many sad and scary things happening but if you care to look, there are plenty of folks who find ways to celebrate the absolute joy and fullness of life. Hope is important. Hope is what brings us together.
The Art Is Hope show will be up until the end of September. This is a virtual event. It's free and very well made. Take a look. Buy some amazing art. Also, take a moment to visit the Faris Foundation website , learn more about Faris and consider making a donation. It's a good cause.