This self portrait was completed during the months of lockdown in 2020 in Victoria. Already a turbulent and difficult year involving a return from a idyllic overseas sojourn; moving to a new place that proved problematic and creativity-quashing; and finally moving to my own apartment during the strict stage 4 lockdown. My mental health was, prior to the final move, at the lowest it has been in a decade. I was questioning everything —including my decision to pursue art— whilst believing the questioning itself was fruitless as I was powerless to change my life and financial situation. A lifeline was thrown to me. I recovered. I came back to my art, finally, with this self portrait. Long interested in the memento mori and vanitas tradition, and having recently discovered Kusōzu’s ‘The death of a noble lady’ series of 18th century watercolours, I found solace in the knowledge that this too shall pass. Not only joy, not only sorrow or despair, but my life too – and at a date and time unknown. In current Western society, a notion considered morbid, but in many other cultures, and in my own experience, an enlivening, enriching and vital one. Art is everything to me and I have a limited time in which to make it. Here I found my light, and drew my way, with silver and gold on a wood panel, back into it.
The work later acquired a chip on the top left corner. Instead of repairing it to be unnoticeable, I have adapted the Japanese tradition of kintsugi to repair it with gold. A little bit damaged, but whole, beautiful, glittering.