From a workshop participant: The story of my art work is much more complicated than the free flow of the squiggles on the paper. When I did this drawing I had no idea what it meant, I had drawn squiggly lines around the paper and not seeing anything drew bigger squiggles and lines.
Eventually In the centre of the page I saw a polar bear. Polar bears, to me, are strong, free, pure white, masters of their domain, seen as apex predators but at the same time playful like a childhood vision of the perfect bear. I noticed that the polar bear's nose was tethered but it meant nothing to me, I had no idea what I had drawn apart from the literal.
So I wrote the words underneath that came to me:
moving energy running light
force power freedom
escape don?t hold back
With time to spare and seeing nothing I rotated the paper clockwise. I saw the gnarled face of an old woman from an old time cartoon, a scarf around her head, a tendril of hair blowing in a gale.
sit stop stay come back
I rotated the paper clockwise again and saw the polar bear lying dead with stiffened outstretched legs.
flat dead over empty
In the final clockwise rotation I saw a face side-on, eyes covered by a blindfold, mouth open wide as if screaming.
anguish fear blind caught
Every clockwise turn I made, led to negativity, the only positive was the original picture.
It took me a few hours, but getting on with other work it puzzled around in the back of my mind until finally I worked out what I had unwittingly drawn.
I was attending training as part of the ?work? side of my life so I find this picture particularly relevant to my work. I work in the community sector and face the constant struggle of balancing ideals vs reality. People within this sector have many talents and wonderful ideas and make a huge difference in the world. However they are frequently faced by people, funding and structures that although designed to support the disenfranchised members of our community in reality they have become part of the structure that keeps people from achieving and ?moving forward?.
The polar bear is me. I receive a lot of positive emotional energy from my work and my personal nature is to be free and playful but I am feeling tethered by structures that hold back the opportunities to fully achieve. Note the polar bear is tethered by the nose, so I feel this is about direction, the tether is loose so it does not have a full hold, the front legs are strong and balking at being held back, yet the back leg is flimsy, saying to me that there is some sort of weakness lurking in the background. By nature I want to fight the direction I am being forced in but there is also fear associated with the unknown. The tether creates an external structure that provides direction and safety yet at the same time I know this direction is weak.
The face of the old woman represents structure. These structures are old and have been in place for a long time, but there is no wisdom that comes with age, the old woman is negative, nagging interested only in maintaining the status quo. The old woman?s hair being blown by a gale says to me that there is something more powerful out there, that can knock about the status quo. I know that there is something missing.
The dead polar bear is me if I continue to be held by the tether, drained of spirit, no life within me. In essence the structures I fight against will suck the life out of me.
The final blind-folded screaming face represents my internal thoughts on the death of the polar bear (me), the anguish of the face in the scream, yet I cannot see, the blindfold prevents me from seeing things clearly or from seeing the future.
Ultimately experiences with structure have lead me to be fearful of making career change in my working life. I have no confidence of the structures around me yet if I continue as I am, I will lose me.
Do I go along to get along or do I escape it all and not hold back? I obviously have some thinking to do.......and more artwork.....