What is it to be human? Piece of the day – Tuesday

Retrospective sisterhood – Beth Louella
Retrospective sisterhood – Beth Louella

So. Here’s my pick from the WhatIsItToBeHuman exhibition for Tuesday: a double portrait by Beth Louella. Except, as Beth explains, that isn’t quite it:

The painting depicts two women who look like sisters.  They are in fact the same woman (the Artist) nearly twenty years apart.  The young woman on the left is her younger self and the woman on the right is her now. Retrospect is a particularly human quality, as is emotion.

I’m not picking it because of its cleverness (although I do like that), but because it speaks of the way we change and don’t change throughout our lives. I don’t want to get into the ship of Theseus here, but rather reflect on the fact that we do change: physically, I can reach a shelf I couldn’t have when I was four; mentally, my maths is rather better than when I was four; experientially, the lens of memories refracts new experiences. Yet at the same time, I am still me, in the same body, with the same mind and spirit.

Retrospective sisterhood makes me wonder about what was in that twenty year gap, and also my last twenty year gap.

You can see the piece on the WhatIsItToBeHuman web site, or face-to-face at the Holy Biscuit until Saturday 25th July (open 11 am to 4 pm).

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