On my last day in Asheville I was at a juice bar and this white man sitting at the counter overheard me telling the owners about my project. He said, you have to come to my studio. I said Why? I really have to leave, I've been here two weeks, Asheville is like a vortex. Trust me, he said. I did. This is one of his pieces and a story that brought me to my knees.
Below is by Emil Bekavic
As I started painting, I was listening to some funk. Something tribal. Something with a beat. And I started becoming tribal, almost chaotic! And this, of course, got my head thinking about race. Interracial partnerships and marriages have been a big part of my own existence.
When you were given your "rules" as a kid, what's "right" and what's "wrong", I never got all of it. Too much hypocrisy was there. So thick and obvious that a little kid could even see through all of it. They were too transparent, these "rules". Back then, everybody was "good people". Everybody was "Christian"...until you crossed the line. There was a divide. Now, as far as race is concerned, it was OK to visit or go to school with "them", but to hang out?! To get too close?! Yeah, that was where the line was drawn. And me being me, I always crossed it. Couldn't help it. Didn't care. And once I started dating..."Now, Emil, this is getting serious," they'd say. But I dated and I fell in love, just like anyone else would have. Who knows what love is? Who knows the rules to love? The geniuses and the old? We were just two kids in love with the American idea that you're free and can raise a family and people will support you. But that wasn't so in my case and a lot of others. To this day this is still an issue in certain places.
So when I was painting this, I was working some of these issues out with my brush and my colors. I wanted to avoid all the negativity in the subject and make this painting a pretty picture. I wanted to harmonize the good with the bad. Interracial relationships are a beautiful thing. And maybe that beauty played a huge part in others' fears back then. I was hurt back then. Those "rules" prevented our love from working properly. It was sad. Still is.