We Had Our Parts To Play
61 cm x 91.4 cm
Oil on canvas
I have developed a liking for women’s traditional headdresses from different Asian cultures, most especially the flower crowns worn by Balinese dancers and the more elaborate ones worn by Dan (a general name for female roles) in the Chinese opera. Of course, my interest for these things naturally trickles down to my works both on canvas and on paper.
We Had Our Parts To Play was one of the paintings I mounted for my second solo exhibition at JIV Manila Art Gallery. I had conceptualized the painting during the first quarter of 2012, but only managed to execute it in time for “Resurgence.” Partly inspired by Puccini’s Turandot, the painting features a Chinese opera actress modeled after my friend Julie. I had to include her hare tattoo that was based on a centuries-old book illustration.
Headdresses are integral accessories in Chinese opera costumes to help the audience identify specific roles. The more elaborate and striking the headdress, the more significant the character. The girl in the painting dons the headdress of an empress complete with pearls, faux jewels, butterfly embellishments, and silk tassels. Her heavily embroidered silk brocade is falling off her shoulders; she is in the process of undressing, suggesting that the play is over.
Behind the very oriental inspiration and imagery, the general idea behind the painting is actually a line from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.” There is no such thing as an innocent bystander and a full-blown victim. What we have and all that we are in our present realities are results of our own decisions and actions. Our current situations are connected to all the things we ever did, no matter how small. We all have our parts to play.
This and my other paintings from “Resurgence” have recently been added to my shop in AVA.ph. I was originally saving this news as a Valentine’s Day offering, but the new giclee prints have just been launched last week. Better late than never, so I thought I might as well post about this on the last day of February.
Additionally, the old prints that have already been sold out haven’t been removed. Due to inquiries and requests, I’ve decided to make 3 copies per print available. That should be a nice treat. So far, I am very pleased with how my prints are faring on AVA.ph. I just might add more new works in the coming months. Anyway, do check them out at http://ava.ph/shops/78-katrina-pallon.html.
The Crane Wife
61cm x 91.4cm
Acrylic on canvas
Faery tales and myths from different cultures have always been my main sources of inspiration for my works, may it be for paintings and illustrations or conceptual photos. This particular piece was exhibited at an all-women artists show called “Dream, Paper, Dream” on March 2011 at Vinyl on Vinyl, the opening of which coincided with last year’s International Women’s Day. The only requirement was that we incorporate an origami crane in our work, thus, I decided to come up with a painting based on an old Japanese folk tale of The Crane Wife with five paper cranes suspended from the top of the canvas.
The tale tells of a poor young man who wished for a wife to spend the rest of his days happily with. In another version of this story, the man is a lonely sail maker who lived on a hilltop high above the sea, and he would spend his days watching cranes resting and flying on the salt marsh below his house. In any case, he found an injured crane in the woods one autumn evening. Being a kind soul, he tended to its wounds until it was well enough to fly with the other cranes.
A few days after he set it free, a beautiful woman came knocking on his door, and they fell in love and were married over time. But because the young man was poor, he began to run out of money to feed them both. His wife offered that she would weave a fine piece of cloth that they could sell for a handsome price. She also requested that a workroom be built on the condition that her husband should promise never to watch her weave. True enough, she produced wondrous pieces of cloth of unmatched quality that they were able to sell for prices that allowed them to live comfortably. No longer able to contain his curiosity one day, the young man broke his promise and peeked in. Instead of his wife, he saw a crane plucking its own feathers and weaving them into the loom. Having been revealed, the crane wife flew away and never returned, leaving behind a half finished cloth as a reminder of the time they had together.
I painted the crane wife dressed in an intricately embroidered red kimono holding a cloth she has woven. While the actual painting has already been sold, I am selling my first edition archival giclee print of it on AVA.ph along with prints of 11 more of my works.
Recently, I have been receiving inquiries about my art prints, so this post should be able to answer those questions. I am currently under an exclusive contract with AVA.ph until early November, so purchases will have to made through them. Do check out my available works by visiting my AVA.ph shop, and buy yourself a print if you fancy my work. 🙂