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All the Symbolism


Yesterday I had a spur of the moment lunch with my wonderful friend Diana Zeng, who recently left business world to practice painting, having studied and practiced it in school for years. She realized it was something she had thought quite a bit about in the back of her mind and decided there was no time like the present to make a run at it. I think it is admirable.

As we caught up on various facets of life over spicy falafel and hummus, I found time to broach an art project with her I've been mulling a bit. As I look around my new home, I see evidence of settling in and making it my own. But there still are a couple walls that are relatively if not entirely absent of decoration. While there is no need to rush - or even put anything up at all - it has opened the mental conversation, "what is important to me I would like to have displayed for my guests and me?"

I started by thinking about my love for St. Louis, which spread to encompass another geography that has had an incredible impact on me, Kuala Lumpur. How might I display or represent each of them to both celebrate my experience and be reminded of important pieces of my life?

As we chatted, she and I reviewed each city's flag, which actually have the same color scheme, noticeably similar symbolism.

But as we chatted about layout and approach, we talked about other elements and context that might be helpful. St. Louis notably represents in its flag, the important confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. As I heard myself speaking of the confluence, another tape started playing in my head I'd never connected before. Kuala Lumpur sits at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, a notable coincidence, but even more surprising to recall is that the city's name translates to, "muddy confluence", which then carries another reference back to St. Louis of the "Muddy Mississippi".

Diana asked if I had set this conversation up just to surprise her and I told her the similarities were dawning on me in real-time just like her. While it may have been more dramatic in the moment than as I reflect on it now, it was exciting at the time to see so many unrealized overlaps between two places that mean so much to me.

As for the artwork that will be created as a result... stay tuned.

Go Forth Boldly


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