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  • Manju Sadarangani


Amanda: The Hill We Climb

20" x 20"

Acrylic on Canvas

May 2022

I started this piece about Amanda Gorman in July 2021. Glancing through her

Vogue feature, I found myself fascinated by her hands. Anytime I have watched this

gorgeous woman speak, I end up getting lost in the grace of her hands.

I went back to her reciting “The Hill We Climb”, and I found myself tuning out her

words, entranced by the sway of her hands. What struck me was the movement. All

those graceful mudras magical communicating struggle, joy, and hope even if you

did not hear the words. I felt rather shallow, ignoring the power of her spoken word,

but I forgave myself in the knowledge that much of communication is nonverbal.

It is unlike me to wait this long to finish a piece. I was charging through it last year,

and then ground to a halt, because I kept wandering in directions I did not love. I

put it away, which took more discipline that I imagined. I have a problem leaving

things unfinished, I am a nut for closure. I found myself staring at it, torturing

myself for not getting it done. The amount of time I spent staring at this piece,

paint brush poised, is probably more than the actual time it took to paint it.

When I picked it up again in May, I realized I wanted to keep it simple and edited,

edited, edited it down to this. Which is where I started in July 2021. It is a little bit

of time travel, this piece. In capturing the different shades of yellow and the

universal mudras of her hands, the words play a tiny role. Up close, her mudras are

made out of “The Hill We Climb.”

Our words don’t matter as much as our actions.

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