This painting is a celebration of the magical Day of the Dead, when the barrier between life and death vanishes. The horse, mythic animal that can be seen alive and dead, or both at the same time, carries the deceased from the world of the living to the world of the dead. Here it is tethered at the threshold between the two worlds, patiently waiting. (I photographed the tethered horse in Upper Mustang, Nepal.)
The skeleton does an exuberant handstand on its back and sends its eyes forward to the world of death and backward to the world it is leaving behind.
The eyes of animals that lived in its world–birds, mammals and reptiles– surround it. Symbols of life, protection, wisdom and foresight, they are the helpful companions during the great Voyage.
The painting is a tapestry woven with mythology, places, cultures and symbols. It speaks of the ultimate dream of life embracing death, and death embracing life. Thus Horus, Egyptian god of the sun, watches over to protect man from the evil god, Seth. The peacock becomes a reminder of the Hundred-eyed monster, Argus, of Greek mythology, guardian of Hera, queen of the gods, and the hypnotic eyes of Shiva, Hindu god of the universe–who can reconcile life’s paradoxes and is capable of assuming many forms–are the horse’s inseparable companions.
Winged eyes, winged creatures, fallen wings of Totems speak of the ethereal space birds travel, messengers between the two worlds. They are also symbols of our written history.
Mountains, always, are temples of enlightenment.