(The Lovers I, 1928, Rene Magritte.)
Rene Magritte was one of the most prominent Surrealist painters. He lived from 1898 to 1967. Magritte resided in Brussels, Belgium, for most of his life. His work mainly consisted of Cubist and Surrealism paintings. However, it wasn’t until in his fifties Magrittes’ work was recognized and he started gaining fame from his work. ‘The Lovers I’ is part of a small series of paintings Magritte created between 1927 and 1928. This work was created a year after Magritte’s first solo show, which was heavily criticized. At this time Magritte was creating a large volume of work, with nearly one piece of work produced each day. This gave the viewers of his solo show a large and varied collection of work to view.
‘The Lovers I’ is a painting that shows Magrittes’ perfected Surrealist style. The work has a central, triangular composition which draws the eye inward to focus on the two faces in a figure-ground composition. The colors of the work are muted and cold, creating a lightly quiet and eerie mood. Magritte uses textured brushstrokes and a realistic style of painting to create a prominent surreal effect. The subjects themselves lean in toward each other as if in an happy embrace. However, the sheets wrapping around each figures head transforms the work, seeming to be pressed to their faces as if blown by a breeze. This showcases a feeling of alienation and suffocation, while the overall work has a juxtaposing sense of harmony and serenity
Magritte was not an Artist who liked his viewers to read personal background into his work. He preferred for his work to have an unknown meaning that played on the mind. The 1920’s was heavily influenced by the writings’ of Sigmund Freud and the Surrealist movement, in which Magritte was one of the leading painters. The painting has been suggested to have links with Magrittes’ memories of his mothers suicide in 1912. When he was thirteen years of age, Magrittes’ mother drowned in the river Sambre. She was found with Her dress had blown up around Her body, creating a surreal shroud.
This work is part of some of Magrittes’ major works in his first few years of Surrealism.
Unknown. (2009). Rene Magritte- Biography, Paintings and Quotes. Retrieved from http://www.renemagritte.org/.
Unknown. (2009). The Lovers, 1928 by Rene Magritte. Retrieved from http://www.renemagritte.org/the-lovers-1.jsp.
Disney’s production of Moana has come under a lot of fire from critics. Particularly for their representation of Maui. In the article ‘Fat Maui: how he broke the internet’ on #500 words by Louisa Afoa, she highlights some of this criticism while showcasing her own opinion. Afoa makes the point that nearly all of the criticism on Moana stems from how Disney have chosen to portray Maui as a big bodied character and how this has been interpreted on social platforms. Afoa states ‘When people started comparing Disney’s Maui to The Rock and Jason Momoa, they were no longer just talking about the demigod – they were talking about actors in Hollywood.‘ In my opinion this double standard that came with the interpretation of Maui is ridiculous. Yes, he is a larger character, however, I agree with Afoa that in my eyes he does not appear obese. Maui is definitely not a buff character like these stars from Hollywood, He may not represent the figure he had in legends, but is he more representational to the pacific culture?
Afoa also makes the point that this is a Disney movie, aimed at a young audience. She makes the point of ‘There’s enough pressure on youth to look a certain way. I’m so okay with Maui not represented as a hyper-athletic sexual object. Calling Disney’s Maui a hippo while calling Dwayne Johnson handsome is sending a message that those whose rolls sit outside of western beauty standards should not be visible.’ Again, I agree with her. Our youth, no matter what culture they’re from, should not be told they have to look a certain way from as young an age as what they understand from watching a Disney movie. Maui being this larger than life character who lives up to the standards of the legend should be what matters. Not how people think he should look in order to conform with every bodies idea of a demigod.
I think Afoa’s point that every culture has different representation and beauty standards is accurate. I’m not the most knowledgeable person on pacific culture, I will admit that, however, I can still see areas in Moana that I’m not surprised were offensive to people, and fat-shaming Maui because he’s not quite what you expected on top of all of that isn’t quite right in my eyes. To me, Maui lived up to his representation in the movie and I think his personality should count more than his size.
Auckland, New Zealand is where I’ve lived my entire life. West Auckland has been my home since I was five, with its rolling hills and wild beaches. The forests and the country have breathed life and energy into me, always bringing me back no matter where I go. The CBD, with its endless glass facades towering in the air and chattering streets has always been sitting at the edge of my doorstep.
However, my true home has always been the people I’m closest too. For me home is one of the most important things in my life. I relish having a space that feels serene, somewhere that the people I care about are close to me. Home is coffee with my dad. Exploring beaches with my dogs. Wild nights with my friends.
Auckland has given me so many experiences. It has been the reason I find myself in a crowd with my friends by my side lost in music that consumes you. Road trips, where the only thing ahead of you is the open road and the beams of light that are your guide. Beaches that fade into the water in the darkest parts of the night and the chill of the air weaving through my hair. When the only thing that matters is that moment and those moments that will continue. These are the experiences that have and will continue to shape me.
Throughout my life the most important thing to me has been living. To live healthily and to live well. As a sick child for many years my health has become one of my most treasured possessions. Knowing how valuable your health is means you never forget that it is worth your life. My childhood shaped who I am and without losing and gaining my health I would not be who I am today.
These attributes and more make up my identity. Art and music are huge influences to me. I’m a hugely identity based person, constantly thinking of who I am and what makes me, me. I am my home, the people I’m with, the experiences I’ve had and how I’ve lived.
Key Words: Identity, Home, Living/ health, Auckland, Experience.