12” x 12”
Acrylic, Gold Leaf & Gold Dust on Canvas
Apakshay (apuc.shay) is weathering, decay, atrophy.
This is a piece about memory, rebirth, lessons. Beauty and indolence. The transformation of death, the shadow we leave behind. Along with a literal floral motif (“Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking”) a place most of us find safe, I inserted a Brood X cicada, in all its entomophobiac glory. I used gold leaf and gold dust to create an echo of the decaying wing. Look close, you can still see the traces of cicada exoskeleton under the delicate weathering wing.
I can feel us slowly emerging from our collective chrysalis, and I am full of hope that I will get to hug my loved ones again. But I cannot deny that a part of me is anxious that we will dust off this year and go back to our usual insanity. All these moments of pausing, of assessing what matters, of pouring our love and bandwidth on things that struck – will this survive?
Deeply nostalgic for the silence of lockdown, I wonder what will remain with us, what will imprint on our collective consciousness. This spring is starting to sound like another other spring. I can hear birds and the rain. But, with the construction, and traffic, and sirens and planes, I strain harder and harder to hear anything organic. Even thunder is muted.
As I painted this piece, I found myself meditating on the idea of death. Perhaps it was because I was reading ‘The Leopard’ by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Perhaps it was because I was listening to The Last Friend by Michael League. Both re-imagined death as a beautiful stranger, or a familiar friend. I tried to sit with death as a friend, a maker of space, an arbiter of value.
I hope this year will leave us permanently changed for the better – may we continue to cherish the ones we love, may we continue to think of our salvation as connected with the liberation of others.
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