Artwork / Empathetic Magic / Nikki and Moe Fitting In and Standing Out

a woman in a rainbow hijab with her child
Gwenn Seemel
Black and White (Nikki and Moe Fitting In) and Mother and Child (Nikki and Moe Standing Out)
2017
acrylic on bird’s eye piqué
each painting 18 inches in diameter

$1800  |  $1800

Nikki and I always sat together in art history. I don’t remember how we were first introduced or why we started meeting in the front row of the lecture hall two mornings every week, but my world was immediately richer and more nuanced because we did.

Years later, when I came across pictures of my college friend wearing a headscarf on Facebook, I was curious. If we had ever talked about religion in our student days, it wasn’t Islam. I wanted to get to know her again, I wanted to meet her son, and I wanted to paint their portraits. I sent her a message, and, with it, I unknowingly initiated a ritual. Once a month or so, we'd meet for breakfast and then sit talking at a playground as we watched Moe make his slippy way back up a slide. Since I moved away from Portland, we don’t do these play dates anymore, but, while we did, my world was richer and more nuanced because of Nikki and Moe.

painterly portrait
detail image
painterly portrait
detail image