“The Vigil”

by Al Downs

Every day I am captured by the features of people around me. Maybe it’s due to my easily-distractable nature, or my desire to draw everything I come into contact with; either way, I tend to notice the people around me. Dimples, freckles, scars, bright eyes, long eyelashes, uneven skin tone, dark skin, light skin, bushy eyebrows, large noses, small noses. Anything that makes a face unique makes me yearn to pick up a pencil or stylus to sketch with.

It was refreshing to work on this piece, mostly because it has given me a place to put several of those admired features down in one drawing. I worked to achieve a sense of community in this image, adhering to the imagery of a vigil in Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me. Despite the many body types, ethnicities, and clothing types, I gave all the women color-coordinating outfits as if to say, “We’re on the same team.”

Watching the news over the past couple of years has indicated that women are truly waking up, are deconstructing our biases and internalized misogyny, and are coming together to form a team that lifts each other up instead of breaking each other down. It has given me hope for the future. Similarly, I feel like Storytellers Co is another team that exists to elevate, understand, and cheer for each other. I hope that the stories and camaraderie we find and create here “will grow, will last, will matter.”

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