UpsideDown Artwork

 

Kerstin Rao

Sunflower Resilience

Colored pencil on paper

18x24

$3000

Kerstin Rao

Sunflower Resilience


This bouquet began in simple joy, as a heartfelt gift from one sister to another. Sunflowers are her favorite, her sister told me, will you draw some for her? This drawing began as a celebration. But on the very day I began to draw, the world turned upside-down. Putin began his invasion of Ukraine. Safety was shattered, sovereignty was disrupted. I could not look away. I learned sunflowers are a symbol of the Ukrainians’ spirit. I witnessed the bravery of the people in the face of grim aggression. The sunflowers transformed through my eyes, heart, pen, and colors to express defiance and strength, grief and hope. My drawing now had an added mission: to send support. Through my new business, minted during this pandemic, I can harness the power and beauty of my work to send help to Ukraine. When I shared this update with the gift-giving sister, she was quiet a moment. She was moved. It turns out her sister had recently battled a life-threatening disease. This made it clear that that title should suit both stories - the personal and the political. In the spirit of each of us doing what we can to care for each other and our world, I call my piece Sunflower Resilience.

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