I don’t know why this enigmatic painting was named after me. I have not talked about it with the artist, yet. I presume it was named after me because it was spelled exactly the way I spell my name; the artist could have spelled it different way if he wanted to. And he painted this after reading my story.
I do not look like the subject in the painting, neither does my grandma (the shamanic mentor mentioned in my story), look like her.
So I take this opportunity to talk about my name. ‘Allu Kuy’, in my mother tongue, refers to the invisible spirit beings that roam the dense virgin forests surrounding my hometown. At some point in my people’s history, the Allu Kuy were so influential that the townsfolk were very respectful, even to the point of being slightly fearful of them. As a result, when villagers go to the forest to hunt, to fell trees or gather herbs, or to clear a part of the forest for farming, they have to be very considerate, respectful and careful of their activities so as not to disturb and disadvantage these spirit forces whose main job and purpose is to look after the well-being of the forest environment.
My people believe that everything comes from the Creator, and that every set of creation is special and equal in the Creator’s eyes. Grandma always told me that just like us, human beings, who live in village and town settlements, the Allu Kuy who inhabit the forests have their own houses, families and children to take care of, and that the forests and mountains are their respective territories to also protect. The same is true with rivers and creeks which are also inhabited by another group of spirit beings that must also be acknowledged and respected by human beings.
So when the villagers went to the forests to fell big trees, they asked for permission from the spirit beings that live there. When they hunted animals for consumption, they asked for permission and offered tokens as an act of reciprocation.
From my grandmother’s stories, I understood that all of us, creation-beings, live in parallel universes even within planet Earth. And each type of creation-being has its own designation. These parallel dimensions interweave and the beings within each dimension interact on various tangible and intangible levels. There is no hierarchy and no stratification; each one is different in configuration but equal in essence. To maintain and foster harmonious co-existence, respect and consideration are expected from each set of creation-being. Otherwise, there would be ramifications.
These spirit beings inhabiting the rivers, mountains, fields, etc., are usually minding their own roles in their respective territories. As they were not configured to carry material bodies, nor do they build material structures, to survive, they practically do not need anything from the human-being group of creations. Only when they are disturbed or provoked by human beings, through the latter’s inconsiderate, destructive and greedy activities, that these spirit beings get back at humans.
Back to the painting above, I am guessing that the subject’s peculiar expression gives us a hint on what the artist may have had in mind when he painted it. If you look closely at the painting, especially the background, you would see eyes, faces, and other obscure images or formations. These are the Allu Kuy, and the human in the painting feels their presence.