Another highlight on the farm was the Fynbos exhibition by James Kriel
Early on Sunday Morning we took a hike to view the Cascades on the farm:
“And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!”
-Lewis Carroll, 1872
from the poem titled Jabberwocky, which is currently my son Stephan’s favourite poem, especially when his dad reads it to him with a Scotttish accent.
Initially my eldest son, inspired this work, because he used to see ‘monsters’ everywhere. He is quite tall for his age, thus looks older than he is, and he doesn’t like sleeping. He is also blessed with a vivid imagination.
I am constantly amazed how two children from the same household can be so different from each other. Where Etienne is sensitive and fearful, his brother Stephan fierce and a handful. I say this in the most loving and respectful way. I love them both in every-way.
I am sharing this image of a work I did a while ago, with you again, because the boy who inspired this piece is celebrating his birthday tomorrow.
Since he was little he used to see ‘monsters’. The first time we pretend to catch these monsters with black bags, and it worked for a while.
When he started to see monsters again, the black bags didn’t do the trick so we moved his bed to his brother’s room. That helped for a while.
As an artist I love the idea of monsters, but as a mother these manifestations from my child made me feel worried.
“There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.” – Victoria Schwab
After that I asked him to draw the monster that he saw, and used the drawing he made as inspiration for this piece.
Who am I to tell him that monsters are not real? That it might just be a trick his imagination play on him? Or that he should stop using excuses not to go to sleep? Was his monsters real to him or just a form of manipulation.
How could I teach him that he doesn’t need to fear?
“Oh, monsters are scared,” said Lettie. “That’s why they’re monsters.” – Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
That the real monsters out there can actually be disguised as real people, or that the real world is where the monsters are..
or that even monsters can be beautiful….
“We make our own monsters, then fear them for what they show us about ourselves.” – Mike Cary from “The Unwritten , Vol 1
With all this said, I am happy/relieved and a little sad to say that he doesn’t see monsters anymore. Our boy is growing up.
“The monsters of our childhood do not fade away, neither are they ever wholly monstrous” – John le Carre
“…a time before the beginning of time, when this universe was nothing but “the Self”. That Self looked around and saw that there was nothing but itself, whereupon its first shout was. “It is I!” And when that Self had thus become aware of itself as an I, an ego, it was afraid. But it reasoned, thinking, “Since there is no one here but myself, what is there to fear?” Whereupon the fear departed.”
I absolutely adore creation myths, especially this Indian creation myth as quoted in the book written by Joseph Campbell titled: “Myths to live by”
Image: “He sees monsters everywhere” embroidery on rubber. This work is one of 7 pieces included in the Rijswijk Textile Biennale, which opens on the 16th of May 2017.
Even though I stitch onto rubber almost every day, I find that some days I just want to play.
My playground/playthings = Sketchbook, magazines, scissors, glue and ink = making monsters!
The blink of an eye takes roughly 84 milliseconds. Within half that time, according to studies of perceptual illusions and false memories, you can tap the darkness within and conjure monsters for yourself.
Pictures and words – whether printed or orally transmitted – can serve as priming stimuli too. As members of a social species constantly transmitting ideas in the form of words and pictures, each of us is perpetually primed by cultural metaphor to know just what to do with primitive fears when they are triggered – we make monsters.
Point is, midnight visits to graveyards aren’t required for conjuring monsters. They are always with us, permanently stored in our brains as a form of false memory deposited for future use by the priming stimuli of our culture.
There is a perceptual underpinning to why, once triggered and thereby invited to come out and play, the monsters of our mind so often end up ruling the day – or at least dominating our thoughts and feelings for a time.
The phenomenon is called boundary extension, and it is strongly associated with false memory.
Show a person a picture in which only a portion of a house is visible, and the mind will construct a mental picture of what the rest of the house might look like. In other words, we extend the boundaries of what we see until it matches our culturally learned expectation of whatever a thing is supposed to look like.
“(What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves — our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies. Now that I’ve been one myself, I know.)”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin