Art in a Shipping Tube

giant OBEY giant
giant OBEY giant (Photo credit: joo0ey)

There is a problem with leading a nomadic lifestyle.  Well, there are many problems, but the one on my mind today deals with art.  My wife is something of an artist, photography, and I am an appreciator of art.  Traveling has exposed us to many diverse art forms and we have collected a decent collection.  From Bangladesh we have multiple rickshaw art paintings and some beautiful textiles, from India we have some decorative lamps and a variety of masks, we also have masks from Nepal and Burma, from Vietnam we have a series of reproduction propaganda posters, also from Burma we have a nice restored pieces of furniture and a few beautiful paintings, and on top of all this, we have multiple pieces of work by Shepard Fairey and in Burma we discovered the artist Casper Johansson and have a really nice piece of his.  In addition to all of this, my wife has a ton of awesome photos of her own.

The problem of all this, is that in our home now we only have three masks and one photo hanging.  Admittedly, much of the art work we collected in Bangladesh and India as well as the majority of my masks are languishing in a box in the basement of my parents’ home in the US…another part of the problem.  Here in Sweden, we actually spent the money to ship the pieces of furniture and paintings we had in Burma so that we could display them; but…we are once again asking ourselves, “How long are we going to stay here?”  “If I get a job next year we might buy a home here, shouldn’t we wait to put up the artwork in our home and not this temporary apartment where we need to pay/repair any holes made by hanging the pieces?”  And quite frankly, the apartment we are in now does not have the space to tastefully display all of the art we have here.

So here we are, avid supporters of the arts with hardly a piece of it up on the walls for us to enjoy.  The reason:  we are nomadic.  We are constantly changing homes and countries of residence.  Through all of these transitions, more and more of our art ends up being stored in the basement of my folks. (Thanks mom and dad, I really do appreciate it and one day we will take it away.)  But that one day has yet to arrive.  Moving to Sweden, we thought this would be it.  We would come in, buy a home for an extended stay and put all of our art up.  Six months later we are concerned that this will be a shorter stay than intended and that we will once again need to pack up our stuff and spend the money to ship it somewhere else.

Being nomadic, is it even worth collecting material objects?  But is art merely material?  Art is very important to us and we like to collect examples of it from the different countries we have experiences, but what’s the point when we can’t even appreciate it ourselves much less share with others?

So right now, in our utility closet we have two shipping tubes.  One is full of Shepard Fairey pieces, and the other contains Communist propaganda from Vietnam.  In a box under the M’s changing table are three large paintings and mixed media work from Burma.  In our storage space in the basement of this apartment we have a pair of Chinthe bronze statues, a set of Ogre balls from Burma, and an ox bell display all boxed up.  In the closet we have Naga and Chin tapestries and textiles folded up, and in the beautiful old trunk we got in Burma, we have a ton of photographs of our family and shots that my wife has taken and printed while in Burma…locked away out of site.  Now what is the point of all of this?

Some sites of interest:

4 thoughts on “Art in a Shipping Tube

  1. As a lover of art, I can completely identify with your sentiments here! At this stage, I no longer remember what I have in my ‘boxes’! I sometimes think that the eventual, elusive ‘permanent’ home may have to be designed to accommodate the contents of all those boxes! While I lived in Bangladesh ( I resisted buying yet more art objects for storage: now I regret it a little. I intend to read more of your blog because I see you lived in Burma (which is what brought me to this article in the first place.). Best wishes, Ann in Ireland

    1. Bangladesh has some beautiful textiles, but we really loved the Bollywood rickshaw art. I lived in Burma for five years and really enjoyed some of the art pieces there. There is a good budding artist community in Yangon that is producing some exciting work, and then the old furniture and restored colonial pieces are pretty nice too.

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