This Is All Play

For all of December and January, I had 22 Boston Beings (and their captions) hanging at Parish Hall Gallery at First Parish Church in Lexington. Two weeks ago, I had a super casual closing reception. I’ve been blown away with all the love and support the last two months (and the last two and a half years of doing this). It was wild to hear such kind words from so many creative souls I really admire.

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I’m pumped for what’s next (and however it may evolve): continuing to talk to strangers in Boston and continuing to do freelance work; doing a series on refugees in Portland, Maine this spring; working with new gallery spaces in the Cambridge area; printing a Boston version of this book:

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Thanks again to everyone who came to the show over the last couple months. I’ll keep you posted on the next one. Go team.

Here are some of my recent favorites:

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“I’m getting a PhD in mathematics. It’s a seven-year program. It’s all to get a better job back in Iran. I miss my family. But I don’t miss Iran. This is all for them.”
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“It all just happened so fast. I was a homeless 18-year-old kid in Mission Hill. I just froze and went into this apartment and building and robbed this lady and assaulted her and got thrown in jail. They kept telling me it’d be two or three years. I ended up being there for 18 years and five months. I spent my whole twenties and most of my thirties in prison. You’re forced to grow up ’cause of all the stuff you see in there and ’cause of all the thinkin’ you do on your own. You see everything. And I mean everything. I became much more open and accepting. I became a Muslim. Then I became a Christian. It wasn’t so much the specific religion I was practicing – it was mostly just a way for me to practice kindness, become more tolerant and accepting, carry out justice, and see what was true. I’ve been out for 23 years. I’m about to turn 60. I love meeting new people. I’ve learned how to ask for help when I need it. And I just want to share my story.”

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“It’s my first day with this walker here. They say the second day is easier than your first day and that it gets even easier after that – I hope that’s true! It can only get easier than this! But we can always be positive no matter what. I’ve beaten cancer, and I can get through this! Oh yeah! I’m a strong woman, and I have strong daughters helping me out. Yeah.”
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“I never regret anything about my paintings. There’s nothing to regret. That’s why we do it. You just go. There’s no struggle. I don’t buy into the idea of the struggling artist. This should all be joyful. You don’t think. You just go. And paint. And draw. And write. This is all play.”

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She saw the finished work as the prelude to the next project.—Jan Steward about Cortia Kent

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