Monday, December 26, 2011
The finale of the reality television show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist aired last week. This show is like a lot of reality shows. The artists are each week given a topic or project to make a work of art. Each week an artist is voted off by a panel of judges. In the finale, the three top artists spent three months creating their solo exhibitions. What I found interesting is that 2 of the 3 shows were partially or completely themed around death.
Young Sun, one of the finalists, show was entitled Bool-sa-jo and was focused around the illness and then death of his father. Written on the exhibit was a conversation between Sun and his mother.
"My sweet bool-sa-jo," she called him. Mom stroked Dad's cheek.
"What does that word mean?" I asked.
"Phoenix," she replied. "He's survived so many operations, strokes, chemo.
He keeps living. That's why I call him that. I think he'll live longer than me!"
Finding a balance between closure and remembrance isn't easy.
Bool-sa-jo at once an epilogue and a tribute to the process of loss and healing amongst family"
Kymia Nawabi, the winner of the finale, had an exhibit entitled Not For Long, My Forlorn. Her work focused around life cycles, including death and life after death. Below is a poem at her exhibit and then a video of Kymia talking about her work.
All in that body
Allin your spirit and soul
What of it next?
More glimmer of gold
Look to the Ouroboros
Its beginnings and ends
Sacred scared warrior
Shed your skin again
Onward and all ways
You fight for the grave
Have great faith in yourself
Cosmic paths are paved
So, no for long my forlorn
For the fight in this life is brief
They sheathe each end
With your spirit, never to sleep
The exhibits can be seen on the shows website here.