A few weeks ago, I was delightfully surprised to receive a message from Ulas Yunus Tosun, a Turkish photojournalist who takes remarkable photographs in his pursuit of social justice. Much of his work documents the struggle of refugees in the Middle East.
He first contacted me through Facebook. Initially, when I saw his friend request, I paused over the name. It seemed familiar, but I couldn't connect it with anyone I knew. Sometimes that happens on Facebook, and I didn't respond. Then, a message came from my website that the same Ulas Tosun had completed a contact form. Reading that, I learned that Ulas Tosun was the photographer of the amazing photograph of mothers and children stopped by a fence at the Turkish/Syrian border that I had used in one of my paintings. Ulas found the painting (and me) just by chance as he was searching the internet. He wrote to tell me that he liked my work and was happy that his photograph had inspired me. I immediately responded to tell him how much I valued his work and to thank him for being in contact.
I wrote about the process of doing the painting and my hopes for it, in an earlier blog (see February 2, 2015 entry). It is good to be able to write about it again and say how special it is to connect with a person whose work/art I looked at long and hard and used in my own work. As Ulas put it, "even if we are in different countries of the world, it is very nice to be in the same feeling and the same philosophy even if we speak different languages and have different cultures."
Often these days, I search for signs of hope. Given my life now, I am often looking to art for hope. I think I found some here. This is not only a nice story, it is a story about the wonder and joy of art that goes on not just in, but between people. May we all have more of that!