August 15, 2015

A Thousand Tears

 "Anput Dreams There Is No Afterlife" 2015 


"Maybe death isn't darkness, after all, but so much light wrapping itself around us" - Mary Oliver

"There is no death, only a change of worlds"- Chief Seattle

I have been drawn to the jackal sculptures associated with the Egyptian god Anubis for a long time. Anubis is the Egyptian god of the afterlife, often depicted as guiding individuals across the threshold from the world at their bodily death. Anput is its female version. I had been thinking about making a sculpture of this jackal, but I had no personal context for it. This fabric piece "Anput Dreams There Is No Afterlife" arose from my experience of my mother's illness and death, and it ended up being very much about her life too. The 'Anput' of the title represents an aspect of my mother's higher self, dreaming that the manifest world is all there is.

I took an often reproduced image of the Anubis animal sitting on a funerary tomb and slightly altered it. I stitched tiny tear shapes on it that represent the suffering my mother underwent, a thousand tears of pain, fear, sadness, and anger. On the tomb underneath the figure I stitched small images that I associate with my mother's life. These images, an obvious allusion to the visual language of Hieroglyphics, are simple pictorial representations of objects, plants, animals and people. 

While these depictions have varying degrees of specificity, and many are simple and mundane, none of them are arbitrary. They are more or less read chronologically from left to right, beginning with her early life and ending with her illness and death. A few of the images on the far right also signify transcendence: butterfly, spiral, blossom and heron. The collar around the neck and the cuff on the front leg are stitched with knives that represent anger and resistance. The jackal is chained to the tomb, weighted down to the right by all the things of the world and by the fear of death. In the background I stitched yellow threads of concentric circles that symbolize both the light of eternal consciousness and the passage way to the other side. The border is made of spirals that represent the path leading from materialism and ego to cosmic awareness.

This piece is being shown at ArtXchange Gallery through September 26th, 2015.


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