[Disclaimer: I know nothing about art. I only know what moves me and what doesn’t. This piece of writing is subjective, uninformed. It’s what I understand from a striking image.]
Naomi Okubo’s work always inspires reaction in me.
In Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas – intricate, spherical artworks and symbols, represent the universe. They tend toward having a radial balance, with symmetry being significant.
I find them meditative (which is the point), peaceful and pretty.
With anything trying to exhibit universal symbolism, the themes of opposites, balance and creativity are imperative.
I see all of these in this image of Naomi’s.
The lack of a horizon line speaks to forever, the infinity of the universe and how endless time is (most especially because it’s not real).
The colour contrast between the playful yellow and greens and the dense, stagnant blues and greys of the branches says a lot to me about opposites. The inner and outer worlds. The different sides of the self. The conscious and unconscious. Fantasy and reality. Struggle and peace. I could go on but ultimately, the representation of two means acknowledgment of other. And maybe even acceptance.
The rainbow ribbons hanging in feminine loops from ascetic branches pretty much sums up one of the greatest lessons learned in my life so far. About rigidity and softness. About bracing yourself and acceptance.
I thought the greater the winds of life, the stronger I should stand. But, no. I’ve learned to bend so that I don’t break. To soften, accept and move with the storms and in doing so remain in tact.
‘Have a party forever’ is the name of this artwork. And you know what? I think we should.