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  • Writer's pictureagprat

Nostalgia & gratitude

This past week has been another roller-coaster of emotions, driven by fantastic visits, happy recoveries, and uplifting art-related news, as well as the sudden loss of two former colleagues, friends and peers from my academic post in Argentina, to the virus and cancer-- rest in peace, dear ones…

I found myself thinking about my past life in beloved Buenos Aires, and the many friends I cherish from those days. I might not see them anymore or talk to them, but they do make the fabric of my memories, and thus make who I am, in the most intimate way. They are my unseen treasure.

The obvious nostalgia that my memories bring are rapidly taken over by the desire to give them my gratitude for all their time, energy, and feelings that they have invested in our relations. I thank them for the unique and privileged spacetime shared that hopefully we still do. I hope you all continue to be safe and that we can meet again and again, to celebrate life and our love for one another…

A few years ago, I produced a series of artworks, mostly collage/mixed media work, inspired by nostalgia and gratitude. Nostalgia, because the pieces were specifically created using resources found in my studio: rejected paintings, paper clippings, old X ray film, and other materials that by themselves had been neglected; insignificant enough to be inside a drawer and not considered art but meaningful enough to have been kept and not tossed away.

And gratitude: I have been fascinated by the “ex-votos”, votive offerings made to a saint or to a divinity in fulfillment of a vow or miracle, that have been produced throughout the history of humanity since the Middle Ages. Although usually representational, I created a small collection of my own abstract “ex-votos”, stretching the boundaries of the traditional narrative images telling a personal story of a miracle received, and therefore rendering my personal vision to express my appreciation for the world that surrounds, nurtures and inspires me.

Around that time, I showed my collection of ex-votos at the “Words in Our Work” exhibit at the Riverside Gallery that my great artist friend Carol Moses and I co-directed. Another wonderful artist friend, Cynthia Staples, wrote a lovely review about my exhibit. In the spirit of nostalgia, I invite you to read her review here.

Finally, I encourage you to sign-up to Cynthia’s newsletter to continue to enjoy her brilliant photography and words.

Image: “Ex-voto to Cosmos”, mixed media (watercolor monotype on paper, collaged paper, ink pen, X Ray film), 8 x 10 inches, available for purchase. If you are interested in this or other of my artworks, please contact me here.

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