Becoming an artist was never high on the list of Kiyoshi Mino’s, or even
on his list at all, really. A native of Chicago, Mino studied ecology and
evolutionary biology in university before enlisting in the Army and
deploying to Afghanistan in 2004. For a year he traveled through
Afghani villages bordering Pakistan, interacting with local tribes and
their elders, none of whom had encountered foreigners of any kind
since the Russian occupation. Like many Americans, the Mino was
raised with the belief that natives of what can be considered “less
developed” countries strove to live a life of material abundance,
emulating the American mass consumerism, and he expected to find
these people impoverished and miserable. To his surprise, Mino
discovered that, while their worldly possessions were few, the people
met and came across appeared genuinely happy, full of grace and
gratitude. This experience led Mino to the realization that the world
would be a better place if the American population endeavored to live
more like those of more “primitive”cultures by living simply, using
only what one needs, and placing greater value on family and
community. Mino now owns and operates an organic farm outside of
Chicago with his wife, Emma.
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