February 10, 2022

'The Colombiana'

By Sora Ahsan
'The Colombiana'

On those days when my creativity is waning and I've had about all that I can take of flowers - looking at them, carving them, stamping them - I take out a past journal that has sketches of all the women in my family. Spending a little time with these 'women' always puts me in a better mood and seems to help lift me out of a creative rut - I've been carving them for a print series.   

This particular print is of my older children's Paternal Great Grandmother and I call her, 'The Colombiana' - she is my favorite in the whole series.

The original photo of her was taken on the day of my children's Grandparent's wedding. Everyone in the photo is looking at the camera and smiling - the bride and groom all bright eyed and in love - and she is there staring off into space with a lost look of wonder in her eyes.

I could stare at that photo for hours wondering what she was thinking - with her neat 1950's style dress, standing in a relaxed pose while everyone is happy and standing at attention, the bouffant hairdo, that lost look of wonder and detachment in her eyes - she is so relatable to me and the overall look of her speaks to me on so many levels...and in some ways, the same as paper does. 

At first glance, it's just a piece of paper -or a photo -  so what?! But if you look closer at the fibers weaved throughout...the rough yet soft texture...how light and thin it is... but at the same time, tough and hard to tear...How the wild frayed deckle edges give it a look of rattiness - sort of unrefined and lacking in sophistication - but at the same time, that unrefined look is the actual beauty and elegance of it - and when you look at it that way, it becomes something more than just paper. It becomes a story that is hard to translate and leaves you staring off into space with that lost look of wonder in your eyes - just like 'The Colombiana'. 

(Speaking of eyes...she is missing an eye. I cut too deep and it fell off with the first cleaning between paint colors. I have to carve a new one - no, I am not upset at all ;) - I think I will work on that tonight because I just can't look at another flower right now )

I can't wait to try the prints on all the colors of this lovely Korean hanji.


Fun Fact : She isn't from Colombia, she is from right next door - Panama - where my children's Grandparents are from and live. It is the other Great Grandmother (the Maternal Great Grandmother) that is Colombian. For some reason I call her that because it appealed to me and I believe it suits her. (have you ever been to Panama? It's absolutely beautiful in the interior of the country - untouched by all the modern things of today and still one of my favorite places in the world)




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