Material: Oil on canvas
Those who wish to sing always find a song. – Swedish proverb
All of her lectures start the same, something like: “My name is Greta Thunberg, I am 16 years old (or 17-19), and I’m a climate activist from Sweden”. She’ll go on to bluntly tell you, “Our house is on fire,” or “I want you to panic,” or “This is all wrong – I should not be standing here,” or “You don’t want to listen to us because we are just children.”
Do you not want to listen to her? Does her message about fixing our global warming problem make you uncomfortable? Then I will advise you to hedge your bet and play along anyhow. She’s our “canary in a coal mine”. When your canary drops dead, it’s time to flee the coal mine, not try to alter reality by closing your eyes and holding your ears. But if your mule drops dead in a coal mine, you’re living in the wrong century. You refuse to listen to a woman? Then you’re living half a life. You won’t listen to someone who wears braids? Then don’t tell me how much you like Willie Nelson. You won’t listen to someone with a mental disorder? I’ll ask you, what is mental order supposed to look like? Greta courageously admits she is autistic. Specifically, she has Asberger’s Syndrome. She is “on the Spectrum”, as we say. (This painting’s colors came to me in a dream.) But we all are – the Spectrum is a 360 degree seamless wheel of color. (If you aren’t, I’d like to know where you’re hiding.) But, her mind sees in black and white. So, she can identify a life-or-death situation when she sees one and quickly frame our options. When the stigma of being non-ordinary is overcome (they are fabrications anyhow), and when a mental illness is effectively managed, it can make a messenger from another time and place out of someone we would, in more ignorant times, shunt aside. That is some very creative soil, and another resource worth saving. You sometimes need to listen to what you don’t want to hear. Listen and learn. Now. It’s not too late. Yet.
Greta (Swedish) and I (Finnish) also share the rising Baltic Sea, in which she here stands with braids like the anchor chains of an ice-breaker.