μνάσεσθαί τινά φαιμι καὶ ἕτερον ἀμμέων.
– Sappho, Fragments, 147
In this quote Greek poetess, Sappho makes a promise to someone unknown that she and they will be remembered. She doesn’t know by whom or until when, but she promises immortality nevertheless. It is immortality not of the body or even the soul, but of memory and song; of words read on text copied a hundred times over; of images seen for the first time in thousands of years when something buried sees the sun once more. Who is going to remember if not us?
The Ancient World. Africa, my homeland. Europe where my ancestors apparently came from. Asia where I’ve made my home and brought up my children. All of these places have a voice, unique and powerful. All of them have stories and memories that pass from one mind to another over spans of time that we mere mortals cannot possibly comprehend. Why do I draw? Because I must. Because, like Sappho, I am compelled by some Muse or Ancestor or Kami to remember.