Windows to Humanity: Inspired by the Mother from Kubo and the Two Strings

Watercolor and gouache on paper

Day 210 and a still from Kubo and the Two Strings

After all this time focusing on eyes and stories, the truth is I still struggle to articulate just how profound I think eyes, and the connections we make with them, are. Perhaps this is because sometimes it is most difficult to express something that is quite literally staring us in the face.

Turning to other people’s creativity has given me inspiration, direction, and challenges; its also aided my search for story, especially that of my own, that of this project.

Today I turned to a mode of art and storytelling that has been a crucial part of my life: film. Movies suck us in, creating a virtual space in which we can exist, for a time. And with luck, the time spent in that space, in that story, will lead us to compassion.

Recently, I re-watched and revisited Kubo and the Two Strings,: the stop-motion animation movie had stayed with me for years. Perhaps because the story itself feels like an ancient myth, one that knows more about humans than we do ourselves.

And as I watched I sketched that day’s piece for CognEYEzant. I sketched with the story of Kubo and the Two Strings unfolding in the background. I realized that in the movie, eyes are the thread that weaves the humans and stories together. Just as they do in real life.

With lots of dedication and a bit of luck, eyes and stories will lead us recognizing our compassion. As Kubo’s mother recounted in the film,

“I had seen the wonders of the universe but the warmth of his gaze as I looked into his eyes, that, that I had never known. It was his humanity I saw and it was more powerful than anything in my cold realm. And recognizing his compassion, I recognized my own.”