Let's continue for a little longer to talk about Multiple Perspectives.
(Credit: Lisa's History Room)
If you didn't know Frida's story you would perceive this as a delightful painting of passengers on a bus. But in 1925 and the age of 18 Frida was involved in a most horrendous accident while travelling on a bus with her then boyfriend. She sustained a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone ribs and pelvis, 11 fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. Also, an iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus. Over her life she had 35 surgeries on her back, right leg and foot. (http://www.fridakahlostory.com)
Please now return to the painting The Bus and think about how your perception of the image has changed. Consider the message that Frida Kahlo is conveying.
As I write this blog I am reminded of David Malouf’s novel Fly Away Peter. This is a fabulous novel about a young man, Jim, living in rural Australia at the outbreak of World War 1. The concept of the existence of multiple perspectives in our lives is explored mainly through Jim’s interest in birds. The ground level is the flat world of individual grassblades, seen so close up that they blurred, where the ground-feeders darted about striking at worms...the long view in which all this part of the country was laid out like a relief-map in the Shire Office- surf, beach, swampland, wet paddocks, dry forested hill-slopes, jagged blue peaks.
And then Jim has the opportunity to go up in a small plane before leaving to fight in Europe. This experience gives him a bird’s eye view of the world.
He wonders whether the “map” in his own head, which he had tested and found accurate, might be related to the one the birds carried in theirs’. This map allowed them to find their way “halfway across the world”. This was the true “wonder” of the world – that nature could triumph and find its way without the interference of man. As such, Jim finds the natural world more remarkable than the learning of man. Flying back he had a “clear view of what he had already seen in imagination”.
If you are a user of Twitter I highly recommend you follow Chris at @cgibsonc85 and his colleague @pwadey. They have much to offer us in the world of art. You will be seeing more paintings from the hand of Chris of Kent soon.
The Hero Image is Jeffrey Smart's Portrait of Clive James. A reminder that not everyone's perception of the word portrait is the same.