In spite of all odds

“DESPITE ALL ODDS…” is my next painting in line. At first glance it differs from the “Windows, Doors and Bridges” cycle. However, it is a continuation of a topic which concerns a number of us: our distancing from nature; our depersonalization in the grayness and monotony of large cities; our striving to domesticate various types of plants and trees in order to beautify our lives without taking into consideration that we have uprooted them from their natural environment. During the last one year, we also experienced our own confinement in our homes and our distancing from our close relatives and friends under the threat of disease which intensifies further this illusionary striving and alienates us.

In this painting I present you with a fairly old tree – the Olive tree. We have been cohabitating with it since ancient times. It accompanies our development. We have vested this tree with numerous meanings: friendship, reconciliation, purification, healing, hope, victory, but most of all – stability, tranquility and peace. The olive grows in dry, infertile and dusty soil and does not require much irrigation. Olive trees often show us exceptional examples of disobedience, tenacity and stamina, courage, strength, perseverance, flexibility, agility and ingenuity. It is no wonder they are called “trees of eternity” for their evergreen canopy. The average age of an olive tree varies around 800 years.

An olive tree can grow alone or in olive groves or plantations. This characteristic of adaptability it possesses is also intrinsic to us humans.

Herein you see a lone olive tree in a cage whose branches make their way through the cage bars and strive outward, sideward and upward, thus symbolizing our aspiration to make contact with the surrounding world. Today, we are familiar with this state of distancing, conformity and fear of thinking differently which many of us have been subjected to by being confined alone in our homes trying to continue the fight for life in conditions which are unwonted and unusual for us.

In these times of forced differentiation from one another, I hereby ask: “Can an olive tree or an olive grove grow at will if we put bars around them?”… The same is valid for us people. Like trees, we too tend to grow and develop best when we have the support of our “shared forest”. We have been programmed to constantly seek contact with those around us. That in turn allows us to give and contribute.

Hermann Hesse notes in his novel “Damien”: “The impetus that makes you fly is our great human possession. Everybody has it. It is the feeling of being linked with the roots of power, but one soon becomes afraid of this feeling…It is hellishly dangerous. That is why most people shed their wings and prefer to walk and obey the law.”

It is by no chance that the birds flying around in the lower half of the canvas are dark-colored. As we look up, they gradually turn glistening white in its upper half. This symbolizes the gathering, consolidation and harnessing of our internal strength to overcome the fear which has enveloped us and pervaded our behavior in order to continue our flight forward with courage …in spite of all odds.