19 Jan

Written By: Celmali Jaime


      Kevin doesn’t speak. His days are spent in corners; in silent observance of the loud lives lived by others. Sometimes he smiles. Often times, a blank stare graces his face. When I look at him, I wonder. What would he say if he could?

      Despite his disability, Kevin was a part of the 2010 Art Camp in Mombasa. There he was, camera in hand; a part of the group, finally included. His smile grew even wider as he learned to swim with his photography teacher. If this week was about unity, Kevin’s story tells it best: We Belong, We Have a Say, We Help Each Other, We Commit to Stay. Maybe he wasn’t able to recite these four steps of unity, and perhaps he couldn’t sing along to the theme song; but Kevin is a prime example of how the process of art making unifies where there is division, and heals where there is hurt. I sort through photographs taken by Kevin. In a world of bound silence, art is his voice.

      I hear a loud shriek. It is Kevin’s sister, running to greet him with a hero’s welcome. Her arms cling around him and his smile grows the widest I’ve ever seen. This past week has been a memorable one. I think about how I’ve carelessly spent countless words describing it to others. And then I think about Kevin, and that silent smile of his that reveals it all.  What would he say if he could?


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