Monday, August 16, 2010

+ a painting: this is captivity +

This is an old painting of mine that I realized I wrote a bit about (most of my larger pieces of art are inspired by writing) and felt like blogging about it. It is titled "This Is Captivity." The text is blockquoted below, with more explanation and thoughts underneath. My perfectionist self disappeared when I got to the script - for some reason at the time I didn't care much for the painting and didn't bother taking my time to do the script well. Live and learn.






Held in captivity long enough and your reality changes. Your vocabulary that of an optimist without hope. Your sunrise a rainy afternoon - your freedom an extension of your chain by a few more guilt ridden links. Mourn for an illusion so that your heart is not allowed recognition of death. The color of life fades until you are unsure of even the outlines of the faces you once knew. You struggle only against your own strength instead of that which binds you. This is captivity.


Captivity is traditionally defined as imprisonment, confined to a space, a being that has been domesticated and is now kept so. A captive being one taken in a state of war.

I believe captivity is much broader than what we limit it to through our primarily historical concepts of military wars, battles, and physical force. Captivity is the enemy of freedom; it's absence, the lack thereof. Most people are truly not free.

Imprisonment is not simply living within stone walls, it is the restraint and bondage of the true self. Confinement is not simply forced seclusion, it is the lack of the experience of joy and full life. Domestication is not only an acceptable method of bettering what we own, it is the adaptation of a should-be valued heart for another's purposes or use.

I have watched many close to my heart be taken into captivity as a result of a numerous misbeliefs, untruths, pride, unlove, and ungrace. I have re-written "captivity" as I see it, and sought to portray the captivity of a woman I know. She is held by no physical force, but her heart has most certainly been taken into captivity. The script references that which is closest to her heart, and the doorways through which captivity has slowly and wholly crept in unnoticed; what she has lost and become numb or blind to, and how captivity re-writes our view of reality.

Symbolism in this painting includes the patterned hearts in the background, representing the fact that captivity often comes in the form of patterns, repetition, and dull same-ness; also by what is closest to you. The blindfold for the loss of ability to see that which is before you. The script placed over her chest representing the weight and heaviness captivity holds over the heart. The absence of all five features except for the lips; captivity seems to bring a subconscious, overwhelming hunger and need for anything to bring back the illusion of life. In this woman, I have watched her sexuality, beauty, and femininity numb the pain of everything else she has lost. This is what she still clings to; I believe something deeper still knows that her original self is More.

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