Last farewell to the Albino.
Published by Manol Petrov, 10 Jul 2017
Whenever they ask me why I took up painting, people get the impression that it was because of my stay in Paris. Perhaps for that reason too, but the real push for me to start taming colors and images lies somewhere else. With all other arts you keep thinking about the story you are shaping up. As for me, I found that painting was the only thing which takes my mind entirely to the Lord in prayer. Thus painting seemed to me the most divine of all art ploys.
When I painted the portrait of “The Albino" I felt like having wings sprouting off my shoulders. The painting came out nice and I proudly took it to be my first masterpiece. I finished it and the only thing that started bothering my mind was how to sell it. To go from gallery to gallery with the portrait felt like a foolish and unprofessional idea to me. For this reason, I decided to do an exhibition of albinos and to invite all those people who out of courtesy had greeted me in the galleries during my visits there.
It wasn’t easy to decide where and how to exhibit. No matter how big Paris seemed to me, when I started getting to know it, the city kept narrowing more and more, giving me the strange feeling to be at the right and the wrong place for my craft.
A dance hall, an autistic hall, a hall for abandoned pensioners, one church, another church, yet another church, till I finally set my mind on a hall near one of the Catholic churches with a huge countertop in the centre. Me and my dad went there early in the morning. The premises were left open. We propped the paintings against the big stone countertop and began to hang them up. An albino man, an albino dog, an albino crocodile, an albino raven, an albino mouse and so on. We left the carton boxes with wine in the room of the priest, exchanging with him glances of great distrust. He saw us off exceedingly kind-heartedly which made us totally suspicious about whether the wine for the cocktail party was in safe hands. Thence we went to visit Eva David, the daughter of David Perez, who had already gained a good reputation in the art circles. Eva is a powerful artist with an affinity for death. She accepted us with her mother in a vast penthouse and wined and dined us amply, gave us warm blankets for the winter and a very pricey overcoat for me. In the street, when I thrust my hand into the overcoat pocket later on, I found a 500-franc note, tucked in an envelope. I took the note and wrote “thanks” on the envelope. Then I went back and dropped it in the mailbox. I confided in Eva about the exhibition, but she was flying somewhere next morning.
The next day I dropped in to remind about myself at all the places where I had left invitations; then I got home to dress up and went to finalize the preparations for the exhibition. I entered the church, said a prayer and paced towards the priest’s room. I found no one there, but I didn’t care about the wine any more: I had 500 francs in my pocket and could buy new bottles. I went out through the side yard and made my way to the outhouse at the church, where I had arranged the paintings. I went in and what gives? On the huge marble countertop, there was a coffin laid with a cadaver inside. It was a well-dressed gentleman, gone naturally cold, and he was an albino to top it all. It seemed to me unreal at first, but when I laid my hand upon his forehead I was already fully convinced, that at my first exhibition which I had entitled “The Albino”, I had a dead albino in the centre of the hall. I kept on going in and out of the hall till I spotted one of the priests carrying the wine bottles for the cocktail party. He smiled at me and said that around noontime they had brought a loner to the hall, which was actually intended to keep dead bodies before they were dinned and buried. I was just about to explain to him that it was my first exhibition and it was out of question... Right then my parents came in sight and I started rambling to them about what I had found. They exchanged glances and then my mum said that there was nothing wrong in sending a man’s soul to the afterlife by an exhibition; Peter smiled, poured himself a glass of wine и wound it up: “Nice start, son!" I poured some wine for myself too and after the second glass of wine, the dead albino seemed more and more to belong there in the midst of the exhibition. One or two more hours passed and there were still only the three of us in the hall, exhilarated by the wine and my good start with a dead man on the countertop. It turned out that the albino had been a Parisian loner with no relatives and friends to say last farewell to him, so he did not attract any audience for the paintings either. The exhibition called “The Albino” turned into a magnificent last farewell to a real albino. Dad recited the poem “Mournful Tidings”, me and mum applauded and the albinos seemed to be smiling.