sun room

In the last two or so years, I have been working on illustrations to a book of 24 poems and prose passages with the theme of ‘Water’, which will be published in 2013. While my research has focused on literary descriptions of water in its various aspects—rain, fog, rivers, sea, etc.—I have also become fascinated in how life is utterly dependent on water, and how water permeates every aspect of our evolution and existence. It seems extraordinary that we drink (and are made up of to a greater degree) a ubiquitous substance (on earth and in space) that is ‘wet’ only because oxygen and hydrogen atoms eccentrically bind to become molecules.

For a non-scientific person, I have learned digestible facts from David Attenborough's beautiful documentaries about every aspect of nature. I (or anyone who watches these) gains an awareness of greater issues and of how life interconnects. One of a thousand things we can learn is how we evolved from the earliest organisms in a process of adaptation and chance domination of the surroundings and competitors.

Without becoming overly scientific, or indeed spiritual, and with the help of these documentaries and some books on the creation of the universe, on cells, and particularly on evolution, I began to sense the thrill of shared ancestry, not just with animals, but with plants. I envied scientists and wished that I were able to work in a laboratory or a zoo or a botanical garden and study mosses or DNA or the ‘mystery of the first cell’.

In Sun Room, I decide that I may use my prints and my artistic training, after all, to peer at organisms more closely. My task is to look at the interconnectedness in nature. I retain artistic licence to go where I please and depict what I please! Using my imagination as the magnifying glass, taking up my knives and brushes as the tools of dissection and analysis, and my woodblocks as the petri dishes, I transpose my findings onto the paper’s surface.

A ‘sun room’ in cooler countries is an outdoor room with many windows where one can be warmed by the sun and where plants can be grown in cold seasons. A gallery space is a white room that I can fill with images of lifeforms all nurtured directly or indirectly by the sun. The sun, however, does not enter the gallery at all. My images depict lifeforms ranging from sophisticated to simple, multicellular to single cell, macro to micro, so that the gallery space is something of an indoor garden and a laboratory.