JULIA ROSE SUTHERLAND

Saudade

“Saudade” is a Portuguese term which means to be longing or yearning, a deep emotional state of nostalgia. Saudade depicts two young children’s faces, their eyes are shut and heads are slightly tilted towards the floor, and facing each other. With this piece I was highly concerned with creating a snap shot of emotions I felt as a child. The composition creates a relational dynamic between the two figures. Each portrait consists of three layered long panels of silk organza that are hung two inches away from each other. This allows them to flow freely and gives the work a fluid motion. The first layer of organza is dyed with lac, the second layer displays the large silk painted portrait and the third layer was dyed with indigo. Using material quality, imagery and colour created a sense of visual seduction that functioned as a tool to draw the viewer into the work and gives them time to think about the content within it. I was internalizing and reflecting on memories and events during and after I began working on the piece. An important idea in this work involves how the two images create a relationship with each other and the audience. There is a tension in the work that creates a sense of sadness, memory, loss and longing. This piece was used to regain a sense of childhood, to explore the idea of being still and in thought within a moment of time that had already passed. The format of the imagery references Polaroid photos although the size has been dramatically altered; using ideas of memory and nostalgia it allows me to create a sense of melancholy and stillness. The material I chose to work with was naturally dyed silk organza, because it moves fluidly along with the physical movement of the audience. The viewer’s ability to have an impact on the movement of the piece adds a layer a complexity to the conceptualization of the art, by creating a stronger physical relationship between the viewers and the piece. The layers imply the passing of time from when these images were painted. The imagery abstraction informs the piece, it creates a narrative over time, my memories have started to decay, and the abstraction of the portrait is referencing this process. While I was making this piece I started directly speak to difficult subject matter such as personal struggle and my own childhood. It prompted me to start working more in depth with this subject matter, and gave me the reinforcement from the viewer’s engagement with the piece.