The Dead Sunflower

The Dead Sunflower was created to be my entry to the Portrait Society of America's International Self Portrait Project.

The experience of being in quarantine due to COVID19 had a significative impact on our understanding of human connection. The casual meetings in bars, restaurants and friend's houses were drastically reduced (or completely interrupted)... and we had to spend the extra time at home, isolated inside our own minds. As an introvert artist, this is already how I live life; I need some time alone with my thoughts in complete silence. Still, being on a forced isolation is not fun.

The mask is a reference to my most primitive and honest traits, and only by wearing it I can establish a safe and real connection with other human beings. Maybe we should stop using fake masks and reveal our true colors.

The sand clock evokes the sense of finitude and the importance of caring about our present time. You can see that my hands are carefully placed in a way to represent extreme protection as if I'm holding a precious gift, the gift of time.

The sunflowers are dead and facing down, the opposite of a traditional idea of sunflowers, showing us that during difficult times we should search for hope deep inside ourselves instead of up/outside us.

The Dead Sunflower - SketchThe Dead Sunflower - Process - Reference Image

When we bring to the surface of our being everything we try to hide for fear or shame, and wear the mask of our true self, then we can have an intense and honest interaction with others.

Maybe then, only then, time will be treated as a precious gift, and death will be accepted (even celebrated) as the closure of a life lived towards the sun.

I would love to hear about your experience during quarantine, and your thoughts about the artwork The Dead Sunflower. How have you been honoring the gift of time?

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