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Everyone Has A Story

Aminah Robinson Mixed Medium

The Columbus artist, Aminah Robinson, weaves stories into her spirit-filled mixed medium artwork.

Last weekend I went on a Women’s Retreat.  It was fabulous on many levels.  Here are just a few:  1. Having my own room and meals taken care of with the freedom to take a nap, go for a walk, or just be still without having to justify it to anyone.  2. Interesting topics, stimulating ideas, and space to meditate and pray. 3. Meeting fascinating women and getting to know them on a deeper level.

What I also enjoyed at the retreat was how I began to hear people’s stories.  I love a good story.  I especially love it when I hear a story and it completely changes my perceptions or perspective.

I’m not going to reveal the stories I heard last weekend.  Many were personal and told in confidence.  But I admire and thank them for the courage it takes to tell them.

Instead, I’d like to highlight some more public stories that have inspired me.

This is Aminah Robinson.

I first became acquainted with her story many years ago through an article in Columbus’ Capital Style Magazine.  She is a local artist that has gotten international acclaim for her prolific work in paint, sculpture, mixed medium, and many other forms of art.

But life didn’t always come easy for her.  She married young and divorced soon after her only son was born.  She worked a minimum wage job and had to go on welfare at times to make ends meet.  Then, when her son was only 27, he took his own life after battling with depression.

Through it all, Aminah continued to create with any materials she could find and made sculptures out of a substance called Hogmawg, a mix of mud, grease, glue, and dyes.  She wove the stories that she heard as a child and in her community throughout her work.  Her work is magical, spiritual, and leaden with colorful imagery.

If you’d like to see more of Aminah, her process, and her stories click here.

This is Tim.

Tim from Tim's Place

Tim has a fascinating story.  He owns a restaurant.  Not just any restaurant, a diner that gives out hugs.  Isn’t that wonderful?!

That, in itself, is a story.  But here’s the underlying one.  It’s obvious from his picture that Tim has Down’s Syndrome.  This means that he had to put a lot of extra effort into obtaining a restaurant and creating it what it is.  He’s had to pull in his family to help and allowed his community to enter into his world to make his business successful.

It’s obvious from the video below that he has done just that.

I have shared Aminah and Tim’s stories because they touch a core in me.  Aminah is a an artist who has allowed her community and her heritage to shape and drive her art.  I love her spirit.  I’d love to plant a seed of what drives her into my own life and work.

Tim is inspiring on many levels.  I think the main one for me is that my son also has a disability.  Autism.  Tim’s story gives me hope that my son can achieve wonderful things as well.

That’s what stories do.  They draw us in.  Sometimes they touch off something in ourselves that we can relate to.  Other times they just fascinate us or help us to see the world from a different perspective.

Stories are the threads that sew our lives together.

Can you think of a story from your own life that has bubbled up to the surface lately?  I challenge you to do something with it.  Write it down, illustrate it, or create a poem or song out of it.  Feel free to keep it private or, if you’d like, to share it. I’d love to see it!

Have A Wonderfilled Week!

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