In honor of the roots of this holiday, I'd like to share a piece titled "Pollination," a pen and ink drawing I completed during the winter. As is often the case with my work, I didn't realize the full meaning of this piece until it was complete. It began as a reworking of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Leda and the Swan," a theme that has been visited over and over by many artists since antiquity. It deals with a Greek myth in which a beautiful woman named Leda is seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan. He impregnates her, and she lays two eggs, from which her children hatch (one of the children grows up to be Helen of Troy- an interesting side fact).
|Leonardo da Vinci|
|Paul Prosper Tillier|
|Paul C ézzane|
|Peter Paul Rubens|
By the time I was done with the piece, I realized that it was about much more than Leda and the Swan. I saw that it had become a piece about fertility, sex, and death- the life cycle. The piece, beginning at the top, shows a halo chain of DNA encircling a baby as it passes through the pelvis of it's mother, entering the world. In the center is a robust female form, exuding sexuality and standing as the portal through which all life passes. Flowers burst forth on either side of her as pollinating insects and birds flock towards them (I didn't realize the fact that I had included "the birds and the bees" until long after completing this drawing- humorous.) The jellyfish that frame her seemed quite phallic once I had stepped back from the drawing, with subtle hints of female anatomy in the languid folds of their tentacles. Two swan skeletons flank the female figure, giving a nod to the Leda myth. Below her lies a bed of skulls and flowers, representing the death and decay, a return to the Earth, the completion of the life cycle. From conception to decomposition.
|"Pollination," copyright Marisa Aragón Ware.|
It seemed like an appropriate piece to share on a day like today, a holiday devoted to the persistence of life and the ever cycling wheel of birth and death. I'm reminded of how fleeting and precious this human life is... I think I'll get off the computer and go play in the sunshine.
“And still, after all this time,
the Sun has never said to the Earth,
"You owe me."
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.”