08 December 2009



  1. A very powerful and beautifully restrained, truly fascinating image.

    To start off with the strictly personal. This image reminds me of the Hindu myth of Jatin and Ganga. Ganga is the mother goddess of water, named after the mystical river that comes down from the Himalayas. Jatin – Shiva - the god of destruction that dances his naked dance of destruction – once trapped her in his locks (Jatin means ‘matted locks’ in Sanskrit). To quote from a source:

    Lord Shiva's locks serve as receptacle for the Ganges' fall from heaven, which would otherwise destroy the world. Since she could not find her way out of the Lord's hair, the Goddess Ganga stayed there for many years, until He allowed her passage through the Himalayas.

    To me, the woman has beautiful Indian eyes and the beautiful adornment of her forehead (‘the bindi’ - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindi_(decoration)). This also creates an association in my mind with 'Rudraksh', since this was one of the names of Shiva and is an eye (metaphorically, a tear) of his – (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudraksh).

    To move to the image itself. The colour scheme is perfect and super-subtle. It manages to escape from the stark contrast of the black and white used for detailing the bindi and the bird’s head – and to reconcile everything harmoniously. There are seven colours. Five are shared between the duck and the woman. Interestingly, the woman’s eyes are unique – the beautiful between green and black.

    This could be a reflection or image in a pool, at the boundary between water and land. Tears fall everywhere. The duck’s breast is a tear, the head adornment is like a cascading bead of dripping tear drops, the eyes fall in tears, an eyebrow curves into a tear drop - it reminds me irresistably of Milton’s famous first line -

    Song for Sabrina

    Sabrina fair,
    Listen where thou art sitting
    Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
    In twisted braids of lilies knitting
    The loose train of thy amber - dropping hair;
    Listen for dear honour`s sake,
    Goddess of the silver lake,
    Listen and save!

    Is the woman turning towards us, or turning away? Does she look at the duck or beyond it? The duck looks at the fecundity of the woman’s bindi – at the flowers-stars and the tears - her mind? The one colour that the duck has but the woman does not – a blood-stained bill – the most geometric part of the entire composition (a Shakespearean reference, perhaps – ‘a dagger of the mind’)…

    The duck is freeze-framed. It has no wings or legs - it is regressing into a duck egg (these are blue - the phrase ‘duck-egg blue’). Time seems to be collapsing, or falling backwards. One could say that the woman is disappearing in a silent ripple… But also, she may be offering the duck a shoulder to cry on…

    Empty space is everywhere – it is significantly the first thing we see at the top of the image. The colours fade almost into white space to our left - the direction of the woman's gaze. There is an absence, a longing. The woman’s face is filled with this. A silent moment of reflection and mourning, of compromise…

  2. Interesting, "she could not find her way out of the Lords hair..." as the underdrawing was a male figure behind her, and she was literally 'in his hair' and he was looking at the viewer. I took him out because be bugged me, she was looking back and towards his heart. The bird was on his shoulder. But I just didn't want to see him, I wanted her head to be like the sky, open and full of possibilities.