Rosie Jackson 2003
Mixed media on canvas, 60 x 50 cm
Life is a many-layered cake. Some people are content to remain on the surface on the butter cream topping (yellow area) or nice sugary icing (thick pink layer). They feel no particular necessity to leave their “comfort zone”. Convinced that they are good, they assume no responsibility for negative events, whether personal or global. Instead of embracing the negative aspects of themselves they reject them, so that when fate explodes with a vengeance they mistakenly consider themselves victims of a terrible tragedy (the layer of thick black paste) which they think has no relation to their own behaviour.
Beneath the layers of pink icing and butter cream are deeper layers of awareness. The broad central layer shows how various figures respond to negative aspects or problems, which are no longer concentrated in a black mass but have crystallised into round balls.
The Buddha meditates on his problem, looking for an intuitive answer. The blue woman holds onto five problems at once, thereby earning universal admiration to feed her hungry ego, but also harming herself in the process. The black woman is turning her back on a large problem and giving her attention to a small one. One face is hidden behind its dark green manipulationmask. The mask prevents recognition of the true nature of any problem. The blue, armless figure behind the leaves is creating a problem solely through the power of his own imagination and continues to erect strategies of self-protection (sentryleaves). The figure on the far right has allowed his particular problem to reach such proportions that he sinks to the ground, while the green man puts his arm round his problem and embraces it.
Beneath the broad central band, the salmon and green waves offer further potential enlightenment and access to the wine-red layer. Here we are shown the value of stillness, and also the value of relationships which serve to mirror our own shortcomings (mirrorsnails; snails, as hermaphrodites, see themselves in all snails they encounter). The eyes stress the need for watchfulness and the trees indicate our unity with nature. Here, the grass-green figure embraces himself, realising his own godliness and creative power.
By descending further through the turgid, turquoise river, we reach an even deeper layer. This is a place where we can undergo profound change, like the alchemysnake. Headless torsovases act intuitively from the heart, unimpeded by the workings of the mind, and hungerfish swim in continuous search of spiritual nourishment. After passing through these various levels of consciousness we are ready to enter a new, multi-dimensional world (bottom right) of continuous joy and love and in unity with everything in existence.