2012 – oil on canvas, 160×200 cm / 63×79 in
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed”. Albert Einstein
The biggest mystery is life itself. I spend a great amount of time observing nature and understanding the animal world. My Alcyon sculpture was born through the observation of the acrobatic flights of the seagulls in front of my window, which looks out to the Mediterranean. Their harmonic movements, full of elegance, lightness, freedom and effortlessness fill me with awe and joy. Year after year I see the same couples build their nests and raise their offspring. They behave with incredible intelligence, remembering exactly the hour and the place where they will find food, even knocking at my window when I’m late with my contribution.
Although my origins lie in the center of Europe, a large portion of my life has revolved around the Mediterranean. Many of my sculptures are a contemporary interpretation of ancient Greco-Roman Myths, while others draw on the Jewish-Christian heritage of this cradle of Western Civilization. But this sea between Europe, Africa and Asia is in fragile equilibrium, just like my sculpture. It is endangered by overfishing, pollution and endless construction on its shores. Although it is still one of the most biologically diverse seas in the world, 20% of its species are endangered, with the seal shown in my painting among the 10 most endangered species world-wide.
The Alcyon of the Antique Myths dives in, risking her own life in order to save her husband from the sea. The Gods were so moved by this act of love and abnegation that they gave her the wings of a seagull. Is this not a wonderful parable for our own life? We are all like a drop in the ocean, diving to find our companion and dissolving in this quest. Only our feelings of love and empathy give us hope for our salvation. Let us include our animal friends in these considerations.
To promote these values we have created the Chromy Awards. I was therefore particularly glad to present the first Trophy to Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Foundation at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, in recognition of their often perilous actions to protect the whales, sharks, seals and other endangered species of the seas.