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30 August 2013


Bird On Fire - a self portrait by Sonya Rothwell Gallery Beautiful

'BIRD ON FIRE' a self portrait by Sonya Rothwell : mixed media on canvas : 60 x 60 cm : Archibald Prize 2013 submission : original sold 


Artist designer Sonya Rothwell shares her thoughts behind self portrait 'Bird On Fire' painted whilst she defended her right to return to England with her daughter. Due to a patriarchal legal system many women of broken marriages are trapped in Australia unable to leave with their children. Stripped of it's freedom, Paradise soon becomes a gilded cage :

I recently traveled around the world, traversing Asia, Europe, America and South America with my beautiful seven year old daughter. With only a backpack between us and a vague itinerary, we were as free as the birds. Our spirits soared to heady heights; boundless and unconstrained, we journeyed in search of colour & culture and all things old, new and peculiar. I was a bird released.

Now, back to reality, constrained once more, life is misbehaving.

This emotive little painting sprung from me in rebellious defiance. Yes life is sometimes disobedient, but I refuse to let it get to me. I choose to look on the lighter, brighter side – after all, I am Cultural Attaché to the Department of Silver Linings^ and Optimism is my super power.

I refuse to be caged by resentment, blame or powerlessness. When a raging fire arises within I transform that ferocious, destructive, angry energy into willful flames of passion that fuels me. Ignited by this driving force, I become stronger and more focused and determined than ever. Like a small, seemingly fragile migratory bird battling the elements day into night, I fly high, onwards and upwards, thanking life for empowering me in this curious way.

In the words of Nelson Mandela;^^ I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul. I choose to swing wide open the door of my cage. I am Bird On Fire. See me soar.

By the way, brilliant Mister Mandela also said; "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." So, come on baby light your fire !



^ In reference to Australian artist collective, 'The Ministry of Clouds'
^^ In reference to Invictus by William Ernest Henley


Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Bird On Fire - a self portrait by Sonya Rothwell Gallery Beautiful

Sonya Rothwell's art is available from gallerybeautiful.com ☆ Proceeds of sales support our charities helping deprived children live better lives ♡



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