Saturday, March 22, 2014

आदि लक्ष्मी (ఆదిలక్ష్మి; ಆದಿಲಕ್ಷ್ಮಿ)

Skip Hill

'Tattoos with Chai Oolong Tea'
Acrylic, collage, inks on canvas
12"w x 16'h  ©2014  

When the Hindu god Vishnu incarnated on Earth as the avatars Rama and Krishna, he was joined by his consort, the beautiful Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, prosperity, good fortune and the embodiment of God's superior feminine energy.
Taking the form of Rama's wife she is 'Sita'. At the same time she is 'Radha', the lover of Krishna.  
This "duality in one" aspect of Lakshmi makes her/them(?) an appealing subject matter for my "As Namoradas" series, where I weave two or more figures into one central iconic image.

Of course, I'm not interested in rendering Lakshmi as she is depicted in the Bhagavad Gita. But I do like the idea of rendering her incarnations Sita and Radha as contemporary, smart, sexy, tattooed women meeting for Maharaja Chai Oolong tea and spicy gossip.

This piece is truly a masala mix of media and methods. 
As I progressed beyond the loose initial drawing, I pulled references and elements from diverse sources for my collage material; a Chinese how-to book of brush painting, a catalog from the Tokyo Museum of Art, a page from a Brazilian newsweekly and a Hindu prayer tract from a local temple.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Semeador de Sonhos"

Skip Hill

"Semeador de Sonhos" The Dream Sower
Acrylic and ink on linen
16"w x 20h" ©2014  

It's been nearly a decade since I began using the "Dream Sower" motif in my artwork. Initially the barefoot boy with the crown was my metaphor for  planting the seeds of dreams and aspirations; while maintaining hope for a harvest, even in the most trying circumstances. 
Over the years the Dream Sower has become one of the most popular images in my portfolio and is represented in paintings and prints in private collections from Bordeaux, France to Medellin, Colombia.

In this latest work to celebrate the theme, I recall time spent in the Favela Rocinha, in Rio de Janeiro. Rocinha (little farm) is the largest urbanized slum in Brazil, and is located in Rio de Janeiro's South Zone between the affluent districts of São Conrado and Gávea.

The densely populated area of tight alleyways, cramped spaces and makeshift homes is rife with abject poverty, drugs, and crime. Certainly a tough place to have and maintain any dreams. But definitely a place where dreams can salvage the soul from a sense of hopelessness. I was touched by the palpable sense of community, as well as the hospitality, ingenuity and resilience of the people. 

"Semeador de Sonhos" features a street kid sowing seeds from a bag to the birds gathered on a rooftop. Many seeds are eaten. Others fall onto broken asphalt and into weed-filled cracks in the concrete. But a few seed find a fertile place, however small to germinate and grow…as one's faith and confidence grows.

He also carries a berimbau, a single-string musical bow, percussion instrument incorporated into capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music.  The crown on the head of the figure always represents the inherent, but often deeply hidden, beauty and divinity in each of us.