It was my first modeling gig for an art class–paid gig at that. And Picasso was the theme. I learned many things about Picasso. One of them being my favorite painting, Les Demoiselles D’Avignon. Picasso’s cubism and renditions of the exaggerations, associated with African visual aesthetics and artistry would take on a real-life, human persona. But that tale is for another time.
Coming into the classroom, the students had reviewed Picasso’s style and technique. Taking a seat in the back of the classroom, I cannot say (or remember) being nervous. What I can say is how calm and pleased I felt. The level of anticipation I had for this first venture became a playfully calm breeze. My form and existence was about to be discovered. Attentive eyes were going to notice small details, and other shapes that go unnoticed by our eyes, alone.
For at that time, I was set to be the point of focus. Every part of my being was to be observed and explored. The time had come, and I was to take center stage. I even remember what I was wearing; a long, red skirt, whose upper portion hugged tightly at the hips, flaring out to the body. I wore a white, spaghetti-strapped top, where the top portion was covered in a short, cropped, cream-colored top. My hair, in its tight curls, was pulled back in a fro.’ And there I was–ready to be observed.
Throughout different moments, I positioned myself into various shapes, contours, and designs. Freeing myself of expectations of how a model should pose, or the proper way to pose, I could simply be. And so, I did it. Placing my arms above my head in a triangular-like position became the first design in Picasso’s rendition. In their stillness, I could see their movement. Their hands steadily swirling to capture every lining and curving. In the same way they observed, me I too, became the observer. Who were these spirits who had come to copy my image? Not only to copy, but to interpret her based on their own existence, and presentation of the feminine being appearing before them.
I was in awe of the magic being created. The intrinsic beauty of artists capturing the life of a living statue, while she, in turn discovers the shapes, colors, and designs of their unique characters. Their final project would reveal the details of this. To feel as if my body were becoming imprinted in a memorial of Picasso, with an art class that was entering into that world.
I can’t remember the exact time, or duration, my of dated with Picasso, but such precious moments, cannot be calculated with time. What I do know is how healing the session was. That what you deem, “flaws,” became a work of art. Parts that you seek as ugly, become woven as intricate fabrics of the masterpiece. And not simply one. An entire classroom full.
When we climb outside of the limitations of our own minds, we become awakened to our myriad forms in the eyes of others. The session was coming to a close. and I awaited in anticipation to view what the artists had created. Time was up. They seemed pleased, and so was I. I gained a sense of their identity from their portrayal of me. Some had very linear personalities, seeing people as connected to a more vertical shape aligned with the laws of gravity. And there was that one. My eyes, could not help, but awaken to, the boisterous energy having erupted from that one.
Her method of shape was circular. And my, oh my, how she was intricate of the circle into the very existence of my being. I saw her extend my spirit into a Goddess-like nature. She accentuated my breasts with circulating spirals, highlighting the voluptuous energy within them. The same was done with my lower body–hips and buttock. The use of the circular portrayed a power, life force that as inside of me. And even more, it showcased an electrifying vibe of nurture, and a spiritual attunement with something greater than myself. Words could not fully complement the emotions of that movement. It could only be felt.
Lastly, the hair. Her ability to capture the spiritual essence connected with Black women’s hair was shocking. woman, I ever She was the first Arab-Egyptian I met, to have caught onto this. Depicting my hair into upward spirals; curly rays, directed to kiss the sun. The radiance, evident in the painting took me into my Goddess-self that was humbling; becoming in tuned with her keen eye for the invisible. Our paths met at a leveling harmonic melody. At that moment, we had complemented each other. I was the human expression for her captivation of the magical invisible. A marriage was taking place. The energy stimulating from her painting told me that she was a spirit of abundance, fullness, and one that loved the essence of the feminine. She understands nature, and the rhythm of woman’s beat to it. And most intrinsically, she understood her connection to me. In order to capture me in the allure of Picasso, she had to see me; and then see her.
I was shocked, and taken by surprise of her masterpiece. But there is always one that will do that. The space was quiet, and love came dancing into the place. The professor then thanked me, highlighting what a superb model I had been. A woman in her forties (I believe) concurred in ways that were very soothing–as if she had been thinking this all along, during the session. The soothing words of her sonnets whispered a gentle awakening I did not recognize in myself. I later found out she was the wife of a professor, who was donating important photographs to a project I work on. He later relayed to me that she thought I was gorgeous. Though she did not take on the spotlight, she was the calming whisper linked to a Divine spirit of nurture. The eyes I perceived as critical onlookers, were angels coming to highlight a particular color I was invisible to. And in turn, I was given the blessings to experience their magic; thereby, witnessing the heavenly glow of their mystique in Earth’s spiritual gardens. The session was transformed into therapy; and art was the healer.