Fate pushed me towards Asia. I wandered for half a century. Day and night I would draw and take photographs.
After China there was Khabarovsk Krai, India, Mongolia, Vietnam, Syria, Turkey, Nepal, Japan, Thailand and then back through China, India, Nepal, Mongolia and Vietnam. Great adventures, great civilizations. The highest sublimation of the spirit and the deepest depths of matter. Traces, remains, crumbs, splinters, touches of what I saw and felt. Today, tidying my drawers full of thousands of photographs, negatives, notes and sketches, I can say this: some of the things I did were pointless, but is judgment out of time possible? In the preface to my New York City exhibition I wrote: “I doubt whether the tools given to us let us understand and express the truth of matter. Nobody knows the height of Meru Mountain. Nobody’s climbed its peak. Some pilgrim sees only the grass and rocks on the path. Some try to read the laws of the universe from their shapes. Thanks to reflective thinking and our imagination we can see further, ‘beyond the particle’, seeing the forest in the twig, the mountain in the stone, the demon in the sign and death in paleness. The basis of all my endeavors were the visual arts. The perceived world was the subject of reflections and inspirations. The iconosphere ruled my imagination. After all these years of experience I fully realize that I am partaking in a dramatic play, me and others like me parting the heavy curtain of darkness, intending to expose the whole truth, but instead revealing further curtains. Through trailokya — the three worlds of gods, demigods and humans, pilgrims of Asia constantly wander carrying their sanctuaries, and inside them the full and empty thrones of gods. Seeking the borders of the unrecognizable we must acquiesce to wandering. The only certainty being the certainty of the search. Everything that we achieve on this path is subjective, our personal existential experience.
O son of Kuntî, one’s prescribed duties must never be
abandoned. All activities are covered with some fault,
just as smoke covers fire.
The quotes and photos that are presented here are part of the album “Asia” by Andrzej Strumillo, which was published by the “słowo/obraz terytoria” in Gdańsk 2019.