Sunday, August 15, 2010

Death and loathing

I found myself getting quite emotional while reading the Financial Review last week. As you do.

No, it wasn't the sudden sorry state of Telstra shares - although that was certainly cause for tantrummy tears for many - but a story on page three about the artist who won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.

Michael Zavros won for a painting called Phoebe is Dead/McQueen.


He said he was inspired to paint this particular, and very confronting, piece to illustrate how vulnerable he felt as a parent. Apparently, ever since his five year old daughter Phoebe was born, he has been plagued with fears about her being harmed. He said he has never known a love so powerful to be able to make him worry about loss so much. What if that was all taken away, what if he lost her?

When I read that at work on Friday afternoon, I lost it. Firstly, it was such a bloody relief that someone else, and look! a stern and sensible man no less, felt the same way as me, clearly an irrational silly woman. But it was nice to know that perhaps I wasn't as irrational as I thought.

I spend too much time thinking of horrible things happening to Jay...and that is only getting worse now that I am pregnant and so incredibly conscious of a second little life I, we, are responsible for.

Unfortunately, I know these anxieties are basically a parental prerequisite. I am not sure you can do a good job as a parent without feeling this way. Can you?

Oh, and the McQueen reference in the painting was about the scarf, designed by Alexander McQueen. Not sure what that added to the whole title shebang, as I am pretty sure "Phoebe is Dead" would have packed a far more devastating punch. Funnily enough, however, Zavros also called the painting playful. What? Yes, because he gave her rosy cheeks, not a morgue-ish pallor, implying that she could very well have been playing dead.

Bloody kids. I will kill Jay if he ever drapes himself in my scarf and lies prostrate on the floor naked like that!

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