The latest installation in my Pardes series is Native. It celebrates culture, life, and history, peppered with hidden messages and imagery.
This painting is a parade of life in full color. When I hear the word native, I think of strong bonds and ties to two worlds: the earthly and the spiritual. I wanted this piece to speak to both, as they are equally important in my culture and native history.
Everything in this work centers around the shape of a heart. At first glance, you may think that is all it is, but look closer, and you can see a tree. I wanted this imagery to represent the connection of love and roots and how deeply our souls connect to a life force, both natural and spiritual.
My pallet is bright and bold with layered texture to make the painting feel alive. Streams of color flow from the heart tree, swaying as if the wind were blowing. It was essential for me that this piece not feel static since nothing about life or spirituality stays still for very long. They can also represent rain: something that can bring hardship and turmoil at one moment but, in the end, feeds our roots and allows us to grow.
Nestled within the tree is a golden key: something that often appears in native Hebrew and Jewish artwork. Keys represent power: the power of words, knowledge, love, and of course- the power of God. Beside it are symbols from the Hebrew language, again tied to the native theme.
I want people to look at the painting and think about their own heritage. The warm blue of the sky and muted brown tones behind the vibrant and flowing heart tree highlight the contrast between the light and dark of life, as well as the dusk and dawn. Whatever native means to you, the same themes follow us all through life, and this tree of movement, warmth, and effervescence represents the heart and soul of people from all backgrounds.