Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Chariot

I first prepped the canvas for this card in September. It was a card which intimidated me, largely because of the complexity of it's symbolism, but also because I was choosing to use intricate sea dragons as the animal subject. I first discovered the existence of these unreal creatures at the Melbourne Aquarium. They are delicate and mesmerising. This card is often described as grounded and spiritual. Rooted in reality and yet not. Such a strange and lovely creature fit the feel of it for me, and besides, it lent itself well to using a shell for the chariot.
But what of the meaning behind this card? The symbolism and history of it is rich and varied. This is one of the most complex ones I've encountered, in fact, as there seem to be many opinions as to what it means. It can be seen as a representation of nurturing, caring and growth - not for another but for ones self. In finding a Buddhist theme this lends itself well to one of my favourite Buddhist beliefs that no one is more deserving of your own love, care and respect than yourself.

But the card's many symbols leave it open to other interpretations as well. It is traditionally a war chariot, pulled by horses and therefore an implication of victory or achievement.

There is also a strong play of opposites. Often the two steeds used would be black and white and there is a contrast of the sun and the moon. In this way the card shows a separation and pull in two different directions.

I personally like to think that it is about all of these meanings. It's about our ability to win our own inner battles, recognise our strengths and nurture compassion for ourselves. It's our thoughts versus our feelings, our wants versus our needs and our dreams versus our realities. Ultimately it's telling us to look at where we pull ourselves apart with the hope of unifying rather than fighting.
Suitably, this was the first of the final three which I began and the last that I finished this past weekend. Personally I've faced a lot of battles in making these paintings. I've struggled with creating them for myself versus creating them for what I think the world will appreciate, finding time and space to be creative versus making time to rest and painting for the sake of art versus painting for the sake of technique.

Ultimately I have been able to keep myself motivated and passionate throughout the entire two years that I worked on these paintings and that is the greatest achievement.

1 comment:

  1. *shivers* I love it Kait. This is one of my favourite cards for it's complexity and I love your interpretation.


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