The Million-Petaled Flower of Being Here

The Million-Petaled Flower of Being Here takes its name from an excerpt of the poem “The Old Fools” by Phillip Larkin. With “ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines,” Larkin’s depiction of senescence is startling, emphasizing the uncertainty that awaits us. We don’t know what will happen when we arrive at our final resting place, nor do we know how we’ll get there. 

Parallel uncertainties riddle the lives of artists. Artists balance the obligations of their careers and personal lives, investing great financial sums and emotional energy into their practices. How these loose threads become woven together often remains a mystery to outsiders. At times, it may even seem foolish. 

This project’s title is a metaphor for how artists advance — their antennae extended to the multitude of simultaneous experiences around them. These stories share aspects of the process of getting older — and perhaps, younger — from the perspectives of artists working with a range of media around the state. Together, these narratives elucidate a variety of experiences, splintering the collective mythology of an artist into finite pieces. 

This writing series includes the profiles of ten Connecticut artists: Ann Lehman, Joseph Saccio, Jennifer Davies, Howard el-Yasin, Oi Fortin, Rashmi Talpade, Kiara Matos, Kwadwo Adae, Edgar Serrano, and Ruby Gonzalez Hernandez.

This project was commissioned by Artspace New Haven for 2019 City-Wide Open Studios, exploring the theme “Older But Younger.”