At 112 W. Washington Street, Cafe Zola encompasses the ideal artistic qualities of an Ann Arbor restaurant. From the outstanding salmon crepe presented beautifully on my plate to the brick walls decorated with abstract portraits. I could ramble about how perfectly proportioned and delicious my food was, I will gear my focus on the thoughts that the paintings provoked.
The figures showed creative expressions with exaggerated features that captured their unique personalities. While the people look different from one another in each of the painting, they all began as the same white canvas surface that later acquired layers and layers of color. That blank surface on which we all begin is our potential, our ground, the foundation upon which we build ourselves. We have the freedom to chose whatever colors we want on our canvas. For the most part, people look relatively similar when really this exterior is merely a house for the colorful soul that lies beneath the outer layer. These portraits help surface that color brewing under the skin, making it easier to see others for those colors instead of how they appear.
How do we surface these colors? Is it through clothes or extracurriculars? Friends or classes? These things are our valiant attempt to express ourselves. It is not necessary these things that define us, but rather the fact that we made the choice to associate them with our identites. You are not just “the girl with the green jacket,” the club president, a roommate, or a major. These are only tangible features that tap into who you are. While your character is represented with the colors on the canvas, these are simply the shades of the color.
What if we saw each other as a portrait? We would see that we come from the same beginning. While everybody has his or her mark of originality splashed atop the goat skin, no matter what is displayed on the painting, we are all equal.