This morning I woke up thinking of my old friend Huw Davies, who took his own life in early 1994.
Huw Davies: via PhotoAccess, Canberra
Huw was a talented art photographer and ‘life artist’.
His friends adored him for his kindness, his compassion, his amazing energy and above all for a wonderful sense of humour.
About a year before his death, I had an intense debate with Huw about prospects for humanity. I took the optimist side, arguing we’re not only part of creation, but a special and significant part – for all our faults and weaknesses.
Huw – in blacker mood than I’d seen him before – countered that humans are more like a lethal virus. I clearly remember him saying that if humans ever truly escape from the bounds of this planet, we’ll screw up the rest of the universe too.
I still can’t agree with Huw about that. Yet 15 years on, it’s hard to adduce much evidence he was wrong. I don’t think Huw believed all humans as intrinsically evil. His point was about the powerful (those most likely to head for the stars).
Perhaps our outward progress is stalled until we develop the wisdom to coexist and co-evolve?
I wish Huw was still around to continue the discussion.
In the last years of his life, Huw Davies developed a style for retouching photos by fingerpainting. The similarity with the painting style of Vincent Van Gogh was obvious. Somewhat later, he became intensely depressed and took his own life, like Vincent before him.
Along with a self portrait (copied from the website of the PhotoAccess in Canberra, a community organisation of which Huw was a founder-member), I’ll illustrate this tribute with a moving retrospective of the work of Van Gogh, accompanied by the haunting lyrics of Don MacLean.