Social belonging

Throughout my life I have had, to varying degrees at different times, feelings of insecurity and isolation, even though I am actually a sociable person. Right now (January 2019) is a difficult time, so when thinking about how to try to improve my future I have chosen to do some drawings focusing on people in cities and towns, based on photos I have taken. The process of doing these drawings might help to give me a feeling of social connection, and in addition, for each drawing I will attempt to go from a starting point of anonymity and ‘stranger’ to one of identity and communication, making use of collaboration and social media to try to achieve this. In this way I am using art to help me get a better feeling of social belonging, and at the same time I hope to encourage people anywhere that in any situation of anonymity, isolation and loneliness there is always the potential for meaningful social connection.

1. Who is this man in Central Park, New York City?

He was walking along Bridle Path in the western part of Central Park, New York City, at 15.48 hrs on 29th June 2014. I was there with my camera and he happened to be in one of my photos. I probably didn’t really take much notice of him at the time, but looking through my photos later I saw him and thought he looked a good subject for a drawing because he looks positive, purposeful, relaxed, intelligent and also quite sculptural in facial form, pose, folds of clothing, diagonal black bag strap and the large space around him (in a commanding position in his own ‘gallery space’). So I did this coloured pencil drawing and I think it would be wonderful if we could use social media to find out who he is so that I can contact him and (this would be really amazing) maybe even get to meet him one day at that very same location in Central Park where I could give him the drawing! I assume he lives in New York, but NYC being what it is he could probably be from anywhere. Please share this image and text on social media, and feel free to contact me about any aspect of this project (see email address below). Thank you!

Ben Averis


Man in Central Park, New York City, 29-06-2014 (drawn in 2019). Coloured pencil. 21 x 30 cm (A4).

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