I worked on my portrait of Javier Jorge Reyes this summer, in quiet periods between other projects. Each time I sat down with the photograph of his kind, serious, handsome face, I felt I was tapping into some important, timeless realm. What does it mean, painting a portrait of such a young man, killed just in the flower of his life? For me it came to mean the possibility of connecting with community, with life, and with my own very present mortality. Hearing from Yazmin Reyes, Javier Jorge’s sister, has given me the sense that this message in a bottle has reached shore. I offer this portrait with respect for all those who choose to dance their way into joy, and with heartfelt prayers for peace in this world.
Julie Püttgen lives as an artist-activist, chaplain-at-large, and teacher of contemplative creativity. Her projects in writing, painting, and community arts are online at www.108namesofnow.com.