Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Childhood’s End

I was rummaging through an old box of art works when I came across one of my earliest paintings. It’s been several years since I have seen this painting and a huge flood of memories came back to me. This painting is meant to symbolize how humanity has changed with references to those things that have caused the change.

The background of the painting was created using a special technique that I taught myself, to create unique and random textures. It is a symbol of the blackness and vastness of our universe. Within this universe, we have constructed our world and this is symbolized by the geometric structure that is painted in black and white checkerboard formations. Since our ‘new’ world is a product constructed by man, there are symbols depicting our imperfections – the holes in the checkerboard floor.

One of the greatest structures created by man is that of social religion and this is depicted with a blood coloured cross, so we don’t forget the pain that this structure has caused in our societies. Then, there is the symbol of the child…

The children that are being born into this time are pure and innocent – depicted with a symbolic smile. They grow up in a world of fast food, computers, cars and all the other marvels of our age. They believe that these ‘things’ are what life is about because they are surrounded by them, everyday. I was trying to show that these children are being created – not for the pleasure of understanding our Natural world – but for the purpose of being institutionalized for the purpose of further industrial satisfaction. We are no longer giving birth to children. We are giving birth to products to be used within the cogs of our social machine.

Symbols relating to our natural world, however, are found within the symbol of this industrial child. The child’s hair is a silhouette of pine trees (based on a photo I took while in the Temagami forestland). One of the eyes is filled with symbols representing the Earth in space, surrounded by stars. The other eye shows that the sun is setting into the ocean – a symbol of possible endings – and the ocean becomes a tear on the child’s face. The child’s skin is a patchwork of metal sheathing, riveted together with a button nose and the fire’s of industrialism burning from within (seen through the open mouth).

The child is holding a symbol of his creation – the flame of life. This flame, however, is being fueled by the industrial machine and cogs and gears can be seen within this flame.

It was a wonderful experience learning how to create this painting, but at the same time my heart was filled with sadness because of what this painting does represent. My focus was not to portray the wonders of the Earth and our ability to shape a better world. Rather, it focuses on the wonders of life and the shameful ways we have misled ourselves in pursuits of ‘things’ that do not bring us true happiness and fulfillment.

I believe that it was important for me to have painted this image so that I could have a clearer understanding of the thoughts that were rattling around in my head. Once this was accomplished, I felt a deeper desire to focus my future art creations with brush strokes that were not so pointed. I felt that it was time for me to stop thinking about all the wrongs that have been created within our history and to start exploring all the rights that are still to be created.

I felt that my childhood, as a blind individual, was over and that it was time for me to grow up. During the last night of working on this painting, I was listening to a Pink Floyd album and the song ‘Childhood’s End’ was playing. It seemed interesting to me that this song was playing during the short period when I was deciding what the title should be.

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A few months before I started exploring the world of creative expression, I was getting ready for my Temagami ‘walk’ (http://www.bitsandpeaces.com/tttintro01.htm). I met Kevin a few weeks before this walk began and I was very impressed that he wanted to join our adventure.

After ‘Childhood’s End’ was completed, I decided to give it to Kevin. I wanted to thank him for his support and I also wanted to give him something that I hoped would be a part of his life for many years to come – so that he would feel comforted with knowing that he belonged to a small group of individuals that are trying to make positive changes for our world.


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