Life in Chaos - Courage is all we need
Look down to your feet right now! You are standing on your chaos, not just the external world chaos, but your internal visceral f*cking hell. I feel it burning every single day, specially during those moments when things don't work the way I had planned and I regret those wasted hours of hard work. There are also those wishful moments that are never realized to its full potential... and it hurts.
With all that said, life still moves on and I can't just be whining and victimizing myself during the entire existence (well, technically I can, but it would be so boring!). Then I imagine myself standing on a little planet, like The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry, and it is full of misery, monsters, and all sort of scary elements. There is nowhere to go, no way to escape. Courage is the only weapon available to light up the darkness around me and create a livable space on top of this chaos.
The artwork "Courage" combines symbols from a variety of tales: the girl with a cape and the wolf from The Little Red Riding Hood; the legendary King Arthur's Excalibur sword; the small planet from The Little Prince story; the boots with an Unicorn pattern evoking a virtuous and dream-like mood; the doves representing not peace, but rather the connection with the Greek goddess Aphrodite.
I'm fortunate enough to have friends with children full of strong character and cuteness beyond measure that I can ask for help when I need a model! The images below show you the process behind this artwork.
Little Red Riding Hood is one of my favorite characters, and I had depicted her in other artworks. Since reading the book "Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and studying with more depth the work of Carl Jung, I came to understand the Little Red Riding Hood from a different perspective (and also having some personal projection on the tale). I see the little girl as the early stage of my undeveloped ego, an innocent young girl growing up in a forest without the father figure in her life, far from the city and the interaction with "strangers". The grandmother would be the developed ego, and the little girl needs to complete the journey through the forest to get to her grandmother's house (the new psychological developed stage). Along the way she meets the wolf, which I see as the little girl's shadow, he is not "bad" or a "threat", he is the deeper traits of personality that we usually hide in the unconscious for fear of rejection by society.
The sword represents the work necessary to face the shadow, and the responsibility it entails once our weak tendencies are acknowledged. The small planet based on Saint-Exupéry's book is my own psyche, my own territory, the vast complexity of my being. And I will spend my lifetime exploring all corners of it. The unicorns on the boot patterns remind me that I must stand proud with my two feet protected by my dreams and ideas. And the doves are a reference to the spiritual aspect of love, what I understand as hope, because just love can save us from the hardships of reality.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge, and it therefore,. as a rule, meets with considerable resistance. Indeed, self-knowledge as a psychotherapeutic measure frequently requires much painstaking work extending over a long period. (From Aion: Phenomenology of the Self published in The Portable Jung, edited by Joseph Campbell, Penguin Books, 1976, p. 145.)
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Please leave your comments or send me an email with your impressions about this artwork. Much courage to all of you!
I have prints available through the link below. For enquiries about the original artwork, please email firstname.lastname@example.org