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David Melamed - an Inward Portrait

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David Melamed : An Inward Portrait

by Jonathan Melamed

What can one say about a man of few words? Very little. My father has spent his life as I know it trying to improve the day after next. Everything he does is to better his life and his life’s work. He has spent a decade creating a marvelous fortress in the middle of an urban slum, pouring his blood and sweat into its walls with hopes of rejuvenating its once glamourous facade. He does this not for money, but for himself, to make his quality of life easier. The one thing he values above all else is freedom, freedom to do as he pleases when he pleases. He has never been one for other people’s rules. In fact he has never been one for other people.

My father is an artist. Finding aesthetic properties in things others overlook, he has compiled an immense collection of paintings, sculptures, and installations. When looked at in chronological order you can see an increasingly bizarre pattern. Each piece gets stranger and stranger, using less conventional materials every time with an even more cryptic message buried inside. Bridging the gap between coffee grounds and aged urine, my father has never failed to confuse spectators.

There is a very specific method for everything he does. His regimented life structure is the closest thing to normality he will ever experience. He lives like a machine, programmed and operated by some rogue force bent on personal growth and finding the faults of others. When he is not working he is learning, he always has been and always will be a student. At the age of 54, my father would make an excellent teacher. He has had a hand in anything and everything that has caught his eye, and in the process immersed his entire body. Everything that he knows anything about, he knows everything about and that says something in itself. He has gone to more schools then I can count, taken more classes that I can imagine, and read more books then I have read words. He does this for himself and himself alone. He does it because he think just like I do: If you’re going to do something, do it well. In fact, do it better, do it different, but most of all do it.

As a human being born into this world with only the knowledge of your own body and the orifice it just fell out of, you look for something to hold on to. As soon as you are

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