Floral cord

Paper hummingbird with flower spinal cord

This piece took several months because I was finding a way to make flowers look like a spinal cord. I drew the background first and then I mounted the paper flowers and the little hummingbird.

There is a lot of similarities in nature and I want to say we’re all very much alike: flowers, plants, non-human animals, humans, and the patterns in nature.

I’m also doing what I should have done a while ago- making something about my father. Yes, he made a lot of big mistakes and I was too little to understand, but I held the resentment in my heart until it was maybe too late. He was a doctor working in emergency medicine and he lived miles away from me. One day he just suddenly died of an AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) rupture and I never got the chance to say: “dad, we’re okay”.

Sadly, I understood too late that having him close, and forgiving, would have been good for both of us. Sure, what happened was ugly and I still have issues about it, but people can change for the better. Many things could have healed the wounds besides time – it took so long for me to understand… and now, at this moment in my life, I would have liked to be able to talk to him as a friend and ask for advice… something I never had from him.

We all make big mistakes and the lesson is to forgive and understand, because our lives are short and we never know when will be the last time we see the people who are important to us.

A heart around your neck

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`God save thee, ancient Mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus! –
Why look’st thou so?’ -“With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross.”

I wasn’t familiar with the albatross metaphor. A mariner shots an albatross with an arrow from his bow and, since an albatross was considered a bird of good luck, the ship is now cursed and the mariner is forced to bear the dead albatross around his neck as a reminder of his mistake.

Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
‘Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.

Thinking about the world today, I see this metaphor as a depiction of humankind in general. We are the mariners shooting the albatross. To me they represent nature as a whole, they are rulers of the skies and the oceans, and they grace the lands when it’s time to breed. But we are killing them with our recklessness and our greed. We pollute the oceans and they end up killing their offspring not knowing they feed their chicks with our trash.

An orphan’s curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man’s eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die

They are devoted and loving parents, and they fly thousands of miles to forage for their chicks. How terrible it must be for them to find one day that their chick is dead when they have done all it takes for it to survive and thrive. How horrible it must be for an albatross to come back to land to find their chick is dead of starvation because the other parent was killed in a fishing line made by humans that don’t care about other living beings needing to feed on what the ocean gives.

Both parents are needed for a chick to survive and fledge. An albatross now mourns a chick and a partner at the same time. They mate for life, so they now have to start all over to find a new partner, and that doesn’t happen immediately. So many albatross species are now threatened or endangered.

But I think we can’t carry the dead albatross around our necks for too long before we die too. I’m sorry if this sounds too fatalistic- it saddens me to find that many people aren’t even aware of the environmental problem that threatens us all – every living creature. And I don’t mean that people are intentionally doing harm. It’s that we are not even aware of the consequences of our actions (or lack of)

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

But I like to think Nature is so noble and forgiving that if we woke up and started healing what we’ve done, our world could improve soon. It has been said so many times yet it doesn’t seem to come true: We need to stop fighting between us and come together to take care of our home. Why do we want to flee to another planet that wouldn’t be as beautiful as our own? If there isn’t an ocean, the flowers, plants and animals that live here, then I’m not interested, thank you…

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all

Extracts from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Time and art as cycles

 

It’s been a while since I updated this blog. Many crazy things happened to me during this time and, in general, the person who wrote the previous post is someone different from the person who writes today.

At this moment I am still in a steep learning curve. I have identified that the main lesson now is to develop my self-esteem and faith in myself.
A component of this self-love is that you should not forget who you are and where you come from, that you should know and accept yourself in order to know what are you going to to do with your life and what your priorities are. In other words, you have to choose which battles you will fight and which ones you won’t.

I learned that it’s never too late to finish the things that you have in the back burner and never too late to improve things and situations, even if you started a long time ago and it all seems so deteriorated to the point of thinking that it’s not worth it anymore. There’s always hope!

This piece, a dragon in its castle was first made in 1996. I put a lot of effort in it… but maybe because I did not think it was something worth it, I put it away without framing or protection. 22 years later it was obviously falling to pieces but I finally decided to rescue it: I disassembled the whole thing, painted the darkened paper with white gouache, and cut out new pieces to reassemble it again. The whole process felt quite right! New life to an old piece.

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And Moana the albatross chick, who had been left without being mounted on a definitive base, also needed more elements and composition, so I started making her a nest and the constellation of the Southern Cross in the sky. It is a piece made with lots of love and dedication. I hope I can visit New Zealand to see them with my own eyes someday…

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