My final work is a description of Christmas from my point of view.
It consists of a painting, burnt sleigh parts and a small urn tied with a bow and dressed as a present.
The painting has a trail of smoke that connects the sky to the ground and sleigh trace.
Depicts an accident.
The burnt sleigh is a reference to the Father Christmas mannequin that was burned in 1951. This event was a protest against the commercialisation and paganisation of Christmas, but can also be seen as one of the oldest Christmas rituals.
The small urn comes from the imagery of babies and children that has often appeared in my previous work.
For me there is a strong link between such images and death.
In unit 3 I tried to express the idea of a connection between the top and the bottom. This is a religious and personal imagery for me.
My family runs a church. Although some of my family are Christian, some are Buddhist and some are materialist. Our church also functions as a community organisation, so regardless of my religious beliefs, I need to help with a lot of things, especially festive events. Christmas for me means a full day in the kitchen preparing ingredients, and climbing ladders to decorate the church. Climbing up the not-so-solid ladder is a physical memory.
Ladders, steps, are often seen as a way to climb upwards, to get closer to heaven.
The anthropologist Scheper Hughes has been doing fieldwork in the Alto do cruzeiro region of Brazil since 1964.
In Alto, in some year, up to 40 per cent of infants born die of malnutrition. In the local Catholic faith, mothers believe that children who die young are in a special state of being ‘children of the soul’, and that they can only reach heaven by climbing up the stairs in the darkness. Thus, the idea of the interchange between infants and angels weakens the sadness of death. Death is a relief for the infants and is even seen as a ‘happy event’, as the dead baby is transformed into a clean, beautiful little angel who will carry a garland on his head and go on to eternal happiness in the festive celebration. https://clas.berkeley.edu/brazil-no-more-angel-babies-alto
“Sickness brings the Kingdom of Heaven close to the earthly world. Without sickness, the kingdom of heaven and the earthly world would not recognise each other.” (Emil Cioran)
My ladder may be a figurative representation of illness.
In Precious Moments there are images of angels with patched wings. The artist Sam Butcher used children as his subject matter because he felt they are the purest expression of innocence.
The imagery of the child is closely associated with trauma.
Thin, fragile, vanishing …… “Saints are born at the intersection of heaven and earth, redeeming themselves by self-mutilation.”(Emil Cioran)
The ”Little Girl Voice” is an informal name for a vocal trait in adult women that is caused by psychological trauma before the onset of puberty. Women that are affected speak in a higher sounding, child-like pattern, usually in a manner similar to the age at which they suffered the traumatic event. https://loveline.fandom.com/wiki/Little_Girl_Voice
Some of the Sadcore music use this element. https://on.soundcloud.com/R89cAaD8kzmW75zDA
I think this aesthetic is currently popular on social media is because it has become an alternative to self-harm. And in this case Self-harm becomes an act of self-gazing and self-appreciation. Also the vehicle is usually a hospital, associated with the act of seeking help, and has a clean angelic aesthetic. https://luoqiuhengtorus.gwm.app/medical-core-images/
I want it to be asexual and narcissistic. Although I don’t believe anything can really escape the sexualised gaze.
In a sense, the child-like figures in this kind of work is also an escape from the “social media bashing of the “sexualised child””. And the question of “who should be the target of the bashing”.
In unit 1 I mentioned the relationship between the disappearance of childhood and the new media. Is the adultisation of children inevitable? At the same time, is the childification of adults a sexualisation of children? I think these can be two separate questions.