The Four Year Journey to Serenity Lake

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“As the threat of COVID loomed large, the start of my adult life was disrupted.

Coming home felt like a defeat, and psychically messy, as I had spent my whole life trying to get out of New Zealand. I felt quite stuck, worthless. Lockdown was a traumatic time for me, and I felt like I had nowhere to go, and felt guilt for taking up space again in my parents’ home without a financial plan I ought to have by now.

I’m hard on myself, and so were the voices and expectations around me. I was thinking of naming this piece ‘The Group Meeting’, after the disorienting dynamic of Zoom university.

I made this piece in my Baba’s calligraphy room, where the ink was already potent and fluid. I took his brush and transmuted my mind's disarray onto the page.

Before I knew it, I drew a map blind, foretelling what may happen from a point characterised by a mess of a time, mess of a mind, and how I journey into future to find peace.

I had tied the bow with a premonition I have often - of a serene lake high in the mountains, soft silver in lilac haze. Sometimes this happens in my eyelid space before I sleep. Here I feel peace - like I would die here. I usually see this right after a vision of a sketchy alley - a Tokyo alleyway drawn with shifting charcoal.

I haven’t seen this in a while.

This piece I knew I was proud of immediately after making it. Living with it on my wall has been an uncannily peace-bringing presence, as the sense it makes for me is a model that scales from wake to sleep as it does from birth to death.”

 

‘Four Year Journey to Serenity Lake’ is a story of evolution, every stroke embodying emotion as they traverse time and space.

The paper itself, sunbleached along its folds, creates 4 quadrants. In such a space, abstracted glyphs, from ampersands to Chinese radicals, are excavated like fragments from the breakdown of language. Afflicting with thorns and vines, and hints of gazes, the lines eventually carve a forward trajectory towards sense made outside of language.

In the first quadrant, the mizige, also her logo, provides a place of entrance, a doorway into the space. In the left-to-right reading, simplicity is found after navigating chaotic intentions, communion of conflicting communication and opinions.

In the second and third quadrants, the space lends itself as a plane described by Cartesian axes - certain strokes denote a wavering growth, a flaunting up of confidence. These trend lines loop in on themselves in a way that denotes time as illusory, - memory and spiritual progress being highly non linear, not easily bounded by the ideals of quantified rationality. Like a martial art, bold strokes blow back, convoluting the way forward from unseen, unknown forces. 

As you swipe your gaze, you move towards the clarity and stillness - a sleep, a rest, a micro death, a resignation for heaven. A leafy sapling symbolises a form of potential.

In the final quadrant, a halo, or body of water floats above a fluid mountainous landscape, like a sky burial of a liquid cloud.

 

Chinese Ink on Calligraphy Scroll
printed on Giclée Hahnemühle Bamboo