20 Sep ‘We say Goodbye’, Oil on canvas by Duke Asidere

There’s a teenage boy at the airport. He looks defiant, resentful, a little angry. But lurking somewhere, there’s also love and hope. His father might see these emotions or maybe not. He might just sense the anger. It might compound his own anger and despair. He might feel powerless, frustrated. They look through each other, father and son, as they say goodbye.

It’s not a dramatic goodbye, there are no violent words, just the sullenness of a teenager. And the resignation of a parent. The teenager walks away, his headphone clamped to his ears, shutting out the world. It might be an airport. Or a bus station. Or maybe a train station. It might be the boy and his father or the girl and her mother, or even two lovers.

It’s a story about the complexity of these relationships.

The painting is restrained, thoughtful, careful to let the boy be, in his own space, free to find himself and be himself. Though he is alone in the space he still manages to appear somewhat lost and uncomfortable. In the boy’s disgruntled stare Asidere reminds us and himself of all difficulties of giving love, accepting love, making peace, fighting our demons, surrendering to these demons sometimes.

But it’s also an oddly optimistic artwork. One gets the sense that this goodbye, with all its difficulty, won’t be a permanent one.