Alchemy of Coexistence
Graphite, charcoal, acrylic, pastel, on Fabriano watercolor paper, mounted on panel
16 x 20 in.
© Patricia Ariel
My “hidden kingdoms” are inhabited by characters that take the shape of an archetypal and spiritual analysis of my own personal experiences, and how their understanding can reflect on the outer world. At the time I started the piece I was somewhat immersed in reflections about my own duality, and thinking about how the experiences that take me to darker and more silent places end up nourishing my so called “positive” side, creating almost a third entity. This “inner alchemy” I experience so vividly constantly reminds me of the Jungian concept of shadow integration: two polarities – conscious/unconscious, light and shadow, day and night, masculine and feminine – coexisting in perfect cooperation. I decided to explore it revisiting the image of the “twins”, each wearing a different headpiece that are not simply placed upon their heads, but that are almost part of their own bodies. The headpieces, shaped on the form of deer heads, an animal that symbolizes gentleness and regeneration, are clearly representing the dichotomy life/death, that here are not literal symbols, but archetypes of “darkness” and “light” - unconscious and conscious. The figures are surrounded by datura flowers, seen as a sacred plant by Native Americans as having the power to make the living to communicate with the spirits of the dead, which I found a perfect metaphor to the concept, as well as a good representation of the “flourishing” of the consciousness due to this integration.
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