Sunday, August 25, 2013

What does home mean to you?

At the core, what does home mean to you? When you close your eyes, what image comes to mind? For me, the image that best captures the essence of this word was painted when I was ten years old. Outlined with simple pencil lines, brushed in a flat manner with Gouache paints, and perceived through a head-on perspective, this is a scene of the 'golden age' of my family:

Here we are, my father, mother and I, dancing the Twist (or at least, learning to do so) in unison. In the left corner you can spot the radio (set on an end table); in the right corner is a hanging lamp, on the wall over our head is a framed landscape, under our feet is a beautiful persian rug, the pillows on the red sofa seem to dance as well, or at least they are balanced on a point...  And most importantly, all three of us are feeling the same beat.  

This, to me, is not just a picture of home; it is a picture of happiness. It is what was lost in later years, when my parents separated.

Later in his life, when left alone in this space, my father painted it and through the walls he connected it to the memory of his childhood home.

You can see the same red sofa, the framed landscape, the Persian rug... But not a living soul. The place is empty, and he filled it but conjuring the image of his mother rocking the cradle.

Later still, when he passed away, this space transformed once again in my mind. The landscape faded away from its frame, and it is barely hanging, barely clinging to the wall. The designs on the Persian rug have faded out too. It has multiplied into layers of blank paper that are swaying under your feet. The lamp is not just hanging, it is swinging wildly, giving a rhythm to the gusts of wind that threaten to destroy this place. It has already kicked the end table (where my father would put his pen and notebook) upside down.

When my father passed away, I went back home for the traditional Shiva-a, the seven days period of mourning. Perhaps the grief did something to change the way I viewed things, or else it was sitting in that space--my childhood home--in a spot I rarely sat before, discovering it from a new angle, observing how light penetrated the far reaches of this place, how the furniture signified relationships in the family. I drew what I saw on a napkin; wiped my tears with it, and later discarded it.

Coming back to the states, I recreated that sketch from memory. In my new drawing I used a fish-eye perspective. What does that mean? Like regular perspective, the horizontal lines converge into a vantage point in the distance. But here is the difference: the vertical lines are not straight, nor are they parallel. 

As you look up, vertical lines converge to a point up there, beyond the edge of the paper. You can call it Heaven. And as you look down, the vertical lines converge to a point below, call it Hell. Which makes the entire perspective embrace you, as if you are in the middle of a fish bowl, seeing the world curve around you. And looking though such a perspective, what did I see? An earthquake, really, in the aftermath of my father's death. Books falling off the shelves; the lamp swinging like a pendulum; the little side table (in the front) overturned, so my father will never lay his pen upon it; and instead of the persian rugs that used to adorn this space once upon a time, I floated blank pages on the floor; pages he will never again use for writing. This will become the sketch for the cover of my poetry book, Home.

★ Inspired by poetry? Treat yourself a gift ★

"Absolutely Stunning!" "scenes of such exquisite depth and beauty"


  1. I love the Artwork Uvi :) tú es muy/very talented!!! Best of Blessings y Success!!!


  2. Excellent & Many thanks it looks so sharp. It really does mean so much to see this on here.

    1. Aw... Thank you so much! This is a theme that touches all of us.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Leslie! This is the sketch that resulted in the oil painting that resulted in the cover art for my poetry book, Home.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Ruchira! And the writing ain't bad either, lol...