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Limited edition of 95 signed fine-art prints available on museum archival card. 488mm high x 820mm wide. Unframed prints shipped FREE in NZ, $49 internationally.
Flashe (acrylic vinyl) painting on canvas Diptych - 1230 x 1030mm each. 1230 x 2090mm together. Size includes modern black wooden frame, 2017
The Takahē was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1948. Their population is still vulnerable. Here our unique, flightless Takahē is the Phoenix, the bird that came back from the dead.
The phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its previous self.
The diamond pattern in the background and the gold designs in the beak and feathers are inspired by Māori Tukutuku and Tāniko designs, as well as Hindu and Buddhist art.
Almost every culture has a version of the Phoenix that teaches about transformation, longevity and renewal.
To plunge into the underworld of death, creativity and chaos and re-emerge with something of value is the ultimate heroic act. Value is metaphorical gold. And that is why I painted the entire background of this painting with luminous, metallic gold.
Artists, inventors, mathematicians and scientists often report that their inspiration comes from a mysterious place. Perhaps this place is the subconscious mind. Perhaps it is the muse. Perhaps it is the flow state. Perhaps it is a psychedelic realm.
These are various names for the unknown source of new ideas that the Phoenix visits from time to time. The dark, female yin element is the womb of creativity.
I have used black, in an almost silhouette-like manner on the body of the bird. This signifies the ashes and underworld, from which the phoenix emerges.
A healthy rebirth is when you experience a dark mysterious realm, perhaps within yourself, and you come back to the light as a fully integrated human being. Integrated means you have allowed this new knowledge to filter in. You have become more vital and wise as a consequence.
The ancient Egyptian phoenix was called Bennu. It was associated with the sun cyclically rising and setting. The gold background in this work also represents the flames of Raa, the sun.
The legend of the Phoenix was a symbol of Christ's death and resurrection in the Middle Ages.
Myths from around the world convey that it is far better to voluntarily face Kali or Hine-nui-te-pō or the dragon of chaos. They are the goddesses of death, change and the underworld. Despite their fearsome appearance, they help remove our veil of ignorance from our eyes. In small ways we can choose to let pieces of our ego fall away, to be replaced with richer experiences and wisdom. This is the act of the Phoenix.
The wisest people I know all transmit the same message - that if we want to change the world, start by transforming ourselves. Any truth we see out there means there is an even tougher truth to swallow about ourselves. The capacity for loving kindness as well as malevolence is inside of us. The Phoenix constantly discards its old attachments and renews itself. It never stops evolving.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork