When I imagined my 30th birthday many moons ago, I never expected to be in Florence, Italy on extended strict lockdown orders alone in my apartment. It was one of the more surreal birthdays I think I will ever get the gift of experiencing. I feel like it can be called "a gift" because in a way it was the gift of time for the self. I was given the time to start a sculpture while also doing some deep reflecting on the last decade and how far it has pushed me to be more comfortable with the uncomfortable. Having already started a self portrait a year trend, it seemed like the perfect timing for this year's to commence.
The following is an excerpt from my journal on 22 April 2020. This is the day that I realized that I was no longer doing a self portrait but instead I was becoming simply a vessel to represent the people affected the most by this time in history. In the end, it had nothing to do with me other than the initial day of conception on my 30th. People were suffering and people were working to save them day in and day out. I worked in cognizance of that because I finally could not ignore the heaviness that lingered in the streets any longer. ...
"Sitting with myself. As I have been doing since March 9th (?) but today is different in that I am finally confronting myself. My fears, my desires, my power (or lack thereof) in the time of this pandemic by finally working again on this self portrait. I realized finally why I have been avoiding it since it’s conception on my birthday. After the initial excitement and fervour wore off, I am faced with the editing. Editing a self portrait in turn edits the self; mentally, emotionally, and spiritually just as much as physically. Having nothing to distract me from this when I ‘leave the studio’ makes it harder than ever before. It’s just me. The true avoidance hasn’t come from the esoteric plane but the ethereal. I don’t know exactly how ready I am, but I am ready to try.
And that’s what matters most today."
I entitled the piece "il tempo della corona" to mark this period in time where all of our lives our affected by Covid-19. The ones deserving of the real crowns are the doctors and nurses who have been working on week's end to alleviate the sick. I am so grateful that I was able to take this portrait to la Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore to take a few photos before casting. For me as the artist, this moment solidified the commemoration.