Tuesday, April 30, 2013

the flower-eaters

"When the war started, he began to eat flowers stolen from the florists. When he was arrested he said that he was eating flowers to bring peace to the world. That if everybody ate flowers peace would come to the world." Anais Nin, Ladders to Fire (Cities of the Interior).

I started reading this book almost four years ago. I underlined and dog-eared this quote back then, and I intended to create a collage from it. The piece I started became something else, it begged for a different direction. It became "go and find the people that you know," a figure dressed in maps, with an intense gaze and one hand raised in maybe a wave, maybe not.

I picked the book back up this winter, rereading it cover to cover. I chuckled at the passages I had underlined, wondered what some of the margin notes meant, and time traveled a bit with some pages.

When I reread the quoted passage, I knew it was time to create these two collages. It took several discussions and suggestions from friends and fellows to decide which flowers the characters in the collages should be eating, because I knew that would create a dynamic subplot that could easily weigh them down. I wanted to add another level of meaning, but still remember the original intent.

The decision to use the dandelion came first. It's not a weed, it's a lovely cheerful flower. It is edible, it is medicinal, and it brings wishes.
The second, the poppy, correlates both with the idea of ending war and bringing peace, as it is a flower of memorial. It is also one of dreaminess: Dorothy in the land of Oz, or the more sinister haziness of opiates.

A wish for peace, and a dream for peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your new art. There is so much more to them then meets the eye. The titles, meaning, and symbology are woven into your work,and is just as layered as the scraps of paper you use to create the art.

Dandelions remind me of childhood and times spent making wishes and setting them to the wind. The figure in the dandelions piece looks contemplative of times or people past, perhaps she is about to make a wish or is thinking about the fortunes of past intention.

The fortune of the past is often felt by those in the UK on Remembrance day, and what the poppies in the second piece elude to for me. I first saw this connotation of peace and remembrance illustrated on the jerseys of English Footballers worn in November in honor of Armistice Day and fallen service members. Anais Nin's protagonist ate flowers "...to bring peace to the world. That if everybody ate flowers peace would come to the world." My initial exposure to the symbology of the opiate effects in the 'Wizard of Oz' . Perhaps your protagonist is eating to bring peace to the world, or eating for the numbing peace that comes with forgetting.

Regardless the pieces will keep me coming back for future visits.