10287289_620825561343532_2017265657_nI’m not going to lie, I was a little bit afraid of this meeting at the Rooftop Gallery to see and experience the exhibit City Lives Stories by Porporrina. Don’t get me wrong, Khun Por is the sweetest girl on the planet, it’s the talking about art that intimidates me. I have no idea what to say and sounding “cultured” is so not my strong point. An intelligent remark about a piece of art may evolve around form, line and negative space. In the end, I would say something like, “that looks totally cool, dude”. Therefore, you can probably imagine the relief I felt when the only artistic analysis required by Por consisted of “I spy with my little eye” for some small ducks in one of the houses. I’d suggest you play it too.

With that being said, her exhibit taught me a lot, in ways that didn’t involve any daunting art talk. Relief. In fact, not only was chatting with Por a comfortable experience, but it overcame that to include an air of both contentment and wellbeing. Now don’t go thinking of it as some religious sanctuary, it wasn’t that way at all. Instead, try thinking of it as Pors’ sanctuary; a place where she can be completely herself and pour her heart onto a series of beautiful canvases that we all get to come and play “I Spy” on. I can’t believe I was the nervous one.

When I arrived at the gallery, after recovering from walking up the 5 flight of stairs, I knocked on the door. I was greeted by Por, sitting alone on a foldable chair, paintbrush in hand, in front of her endless wall of painted houses. She appeared completely at home, almost to the point these little houses were pieces of Por herself. Almost like this blog is pieces of Elise.

It was then that I realized just how much I had been missing. My initial perception of her exhibit as being a story of a city, specifically the slums of a city, wasn’t even close to the entire picture. The exhibit of City Lives Stories was so much more than that and now Por was here to awaken me to it. It even says it in the title of a “City, Lives AND Stories”. Wow, how dumb am I?

Although I can’t even begin to bring words to the thought and emotion that has gone into this exhibit, what I can say is something that Por shared with me. During our talk, she explained to me that her life has consisted of an ever evolving story, allowing her to find the comfort and inspiration needed to enable her to become the artist she is today. The idea behind this exhibit wasn’t born overnight. Instead, it was created through a lifetime of experiences, which she has somehow managed to channel into a vision concise enough to create this work of art. This is something that I find more than commendable. I can’t even figure out when I’m hungry or not, let alone make sense of a lifetime of emotion.

Although I could go on for days rambling about the thoughts and feelings I experienced in that room with Pors’ city, I do not believe it is my place to do so. Instead, I would like to leave that for you to experience yourself, through seeing her exhibit and hearing directly all the wisdom that Por has to offer. In doing so, the understanding of City Live Stories you will acquire will surely transcend anything my words have to offer.

In closing, I would like to say that the current showing of City Lives Stories ended at the Rooftop Gallery as of April 30th. However, the exhibit will be live again in a new location very soon. In the meantime, you can follow City Lives Stories on Facebook to keep up to date on the upcoming showing location. Also, one “like” of her page gets you a house of your own! Not only is this totally fun, but it is a great way to share all the magic that is City Lives Stories. Thanks for having me, Por. Oh, and thanks for the game of “I Spy” as opposed to anything scary.10312048_620825544676867_1514202061_n 10270044_620825534676868_620454427_n 10322868_620825574676864_1143961419_n 10323037_621521691273919_104245653_n 10276489_620825548010200_1061803828_n 10255414_620825554676866_1395487293_n

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Photos by: Ivana Kojic