Sunday, 5 September 2010
9 x 5 entry: Nona Elvira
This is my entry for the Illustrators Australia Annual 9 x 5 Exhibition. The theme this year is "Untold Stories". I wanted to tell the world about my paternal grandmother, whom I think of often when I consider how different my life is from that of a woman just a few generations ago who had eight children and lived such a difficult life both physically and emotionally. As I was one of over twenty five grandchildren and saw her rarely as I lived on the other side of the world, my grandmother does admittedly largely exist to me as a symbol. I am very sorry that I did not get to spend more time getting to know her as an adult, having long conversations as I managed to do with my maternal grandfather before he died.
The idea of a book-like object popped into my head straight away too, although the quality of wood that I used for the top section was quite inferior to the wood that Illustrators Australia sent me for the main part (that can be seen on the top right). I think that the work suffers a bit as a result, although perhaps it also makes it appear suitably rustic. The window scene is based on a story that my father told me about a cat that stole the family dinner one night. Not so amusing in the middle of a war when food is hard to come by, and not just for stray animals. The burning house in the background symbolises the havoc wreaked on the town by the German invasion during World War II.
Lastly, there is my Nona Elvira. This picture was taken when she was already in her early 90's. I think that her face is quite beautiful and calm for a woman who went through so much. It may not be obvious from this photo, but the palette that I used for the illustration comes from her: black because she always wore black, pink because she had pink translucent cheeks, and lastly, grey-blue because that was the colour of her hair and eyes. (My eyes too.)
Some other 9x5 entries can be seen here, here and here, with more of an explanation of what the 9x5 is actually about too.