Figures
by Michelle Christides

copyright 2004, all rights reserved

Brain Fitness: Jung and Yoga, Creativity and Conscious Aging

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Art & Design Online

Sarasota Supports the Arts Inspired by the courtesy photograph to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 2, 2007, for the opening of the franchise gallery for bronze reproductions of Rodin sculpture in Sarasota. I have made changes, rather than risk copyright problems. 28" X 36" or 70 X 90 cms.

Vigil at Chernobyl Inspired by the photograph of the rainy night anniversary of twenty years since Chernobyl by Gerd Ludwig, in National Geographic, April 2006, "The Long Shadow of Chernobyl," p. 48. I have added three figures to make this scene from my own compassion, rather than risk copyright problems. 28" X 36" or 70 X 90 cms.

Beauty and Death This painting evoked in me much of the tragedy I have observed in the world soul of this planet during my passage here. As a child, growing up in France, I was aware that my father, a U. S. Treasury representative to INTERPOL, was investigating what later became known in the zeitgeist as "the French Connection" due to the film on heroine traffic. Later, when I was doing an export business in France and Greece, I heard that the addiction problem among my own generation had increased rather than decreased.

It seemed to be part of the hubris of the cult of the individual that has caused the Boomer generation to betray the vision of our youth to make global change for justice, peace, and prosperity. Many of those who achieved fame as they entered adulthood became heroine addicts and many died. Then with the same arrogant self-confidence, they became spiritual seekers and set themselves up as western new-age gurus.

Now we are at war with the Middle East, after transferring the largest treasure in history there in exchange for oil. In Afghanistan, poor farmers turn to scrape the resin from the beautiful fields of poppies instead of raising food, because Westerners are still demanding their self-indulgence. Instead of waging peace with our money, we destroy in some vain attempt to exact revenge for 9/11, as though that were the only act of war that ever mattered. So the ordinary Afghan farmer obliges the world demand for self-poisoning/intoxication, to survive in the face of destruction. And the serpent of evil bewitches the world in our delusions. 24 X 36 " or 60 X 90 cms.

I Ching 28 X 36 " or 70 X 90 cms.

Women at Work -- This painting is inspired by the photo of Kim MacDonald, in the December 2006 issue of Habitat World, in the article, "The Stubborn Stain of Poverty." 24 X 36 " or 60 X 90 cms.

Happiness -- This painting is inspired by the photo of Ron Howard, Corbis, the caption reads: "Schoolgirls in Bhutan, where in the 1970s the king proclaimed gross national happiness more important than gross domestic product," in Scientific American, June 2006, "Favored by the Gods," by George Johnson, a review of three books on happiness. The title of this review refers to the Ancient Greek belief that happiness is being favored by the gods. I prefer the definition by Epictetus: "Happiness is the full use of your powers along lines of excellence in a life affording scope." 28 X 36 " or 70 X 90 cms.

Puella Aeterna -- inspired by my feeling the grief of a mother whose young daughter died and was subsequently buried at sea -- as she told me, I had a strong energy pulse through my body and this vision. This is not a usual occurrence with me. 28 X 36 " or 70 X 90 cms.

Rickshaw Puller: The Buddha of Starvation -- inspired by the "Fasting Buddha," a second or third-century sculpture in the Central Museum of Lahore, Pakistan. In the 1970s, while watching the evening news with Walter Cronkite, who reported such things as the fourteen elderly Americans who died of starvation in Miami, I remember vividly feeling that Walter Cronkite himself felt also the tragedy of a 24-year-old man who died of starvation while pulling a rickshaw in India to earn a living.

A generation later, with the homogenization of the First and Third Worlds through Globalization, I read in The New Yorker, March 20, 2006, that the Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs are joining those of the US and EU in buying contemporary art at Sotheby's and Christie's auctions. The article, "The Alchemist" by John Colapinto, characterizes an auctioneer, Tobias Meyer, by the term which once referred to the courageous mystics of the West. This modern alchemist turns on the greed of acquisition in these newly rich, who have everything they want except nobility. He turns their gold into leaden taste for art he decrees to be "amazing," and spins the illusion that they may participate in creativity as the producers of the material world. 24 X 36 " or 60 X 90 cms.

A Paris -- inspired by a photograph by Robert Doisneau, Les Amants de l'Hotel de Ville, 1950, Francoise Delbart (Bornet) and Jacques Carteaud. 24 X 36 " or 60 X 90 cms.

Madonna of Pakistan -- inspired by a photograph by Gurinder Osan, Associated Press, in the N Y Times. 28 X 36 " or 70 X 90 cms.

Llore por tus hijas, Guatemala! [Cry for your daughters, Guatemala!]

This painting was one of 39 exhibits for the 2006 Sarasota Bayfront "Embracing Our Differences." It was inspired by two photographs in Amnesty International magazine, Fall 2005, cover story: "A Maya[n] woman in Guatemala, where an epidemic of violence against women has claimed the lives of some 1,600 women since 2001," cover photo by Jeremy Horner/Panos Pictures combined with photo page 19, credit AFP/Getty Images, caption: "Yuri Moreira cries at the feet of his dead daughter, found strangled on the outskirts of Guatemala City," and with original landscape to represent the Guatemalan Sierra Madre.

According to the article which inspired this painting, "Unrelenting Danger," by Laura E. Asturias and Virginia del Aguila, the generation of children raised in Guatemala during the military atrocities of the 36-year-long civil war, which ended nine years ago, has made too many abused children become abusive adults. We see this recurring throughout the planet, in Africa, the Middle East, and South and Central America, on a social or tribal scale, but as individual criminal acts in the industrialized countries, too. Stop the killing violence and atrocities because they spawn the next generation of perpetrators among the victims.

Knowing this strange fact -- that some victims choose to identify with the power of their abusers -- can break the cycle. The archetypal myth young men live by is the hero who protects and defends the tribe. It becomes criminal and cowardly, but can still be seen as powerful and be approved by their own social group. That is the kind of social code that ultimately destroys the whole tribe through decadence. The greater society can only heal the trauma by harnessing the hero to their honor and duty to protect the powerless, that is the true power they must realize.

My principal interest is in why civilizations rise and fall, and how culture first inspires and then blocks the fulfillment of citizens and brings about this cycle. Natural selection may happen from random mutations, but at our human level of consciousness, we can choose whether to allow the mutation that favors abusive power for the survival of the fittest, but not of the best. We must live and let live, embrace the differences in our gene pool as a species, or risk being among those who go extinct due to the short-term survival advantage of abusive power. When a culture brings about the phenomenon of a species dividing against itself along the line of sexual reproduction, then it is a killing mutation. 28 X 36 " or 70 X 90 cms.


"Declaration of Genocide" It seems to me that there is so much "information" bombarding us daily that the most important things have been lost in the deluge -- and our souls may be lost when we forget that the UN estimates 30,000 to 50,000 Sudanese have been killed in this most recent genocide, "declared" by US Congressional resolution on July 22. This is a painting of refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan in a camp in Cariari, Chad, June 2004, from a photograph by Thomas Coex, published in Smithsonian September 2004. 24 " X 36 or 60 X 90 cms.


Secret of the Golden Flower. 28 X 36 " or 70 X 90 cms.


Lunar Eclipse, 36 X 28 " or 90 X 70 cms.
"S/He who learns must suffer. Pain that does not forget even in our sleep falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our despair and against our will, wisdom comes to us through the awful Grace of God/dess." Aeschylus, Agamemnon. Ancient Greek women cut off their hair in grief. Creativity comes from the descent of depression into the UnConscious.

This painting is dedicated to Sue Niederer, who lost her son, Seth Dvorin, in Iraq, a mother who had the milk-giving balls to wear a tee-shirt stating, "You killed my son!" in order to ask Laura Bush after her speech defending the war, why no children of government officials are serving there. Bush supporters surrounded her, drowned her question, and had her arrested for trespassing in this public place. This is the price of two oil CEOs in the top two executive jobs of our government. When the moon is eclipsed, it can be seen dull red, reflecting the light of the Earth.


The Golden Buddha of Sri Lanka -- four versions exist. 12 " or 30 cm. round.

Michelle Christides
5214 Winchester Drive
Sarasota, FL 34234

941-358-8758

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