Death has been served, natural, casual like a daily cup of tea.
A short conversation with a friend got me thinking about an issue that has been bouncing off my head for the last few days. The amount of deceased, victims of the now called Covid-19 are now over 1100 people and for most of us they are just that, a number, but hundreds and hundreds of people have been forced to deal with the sudden realization of death, people with names, lives, and feelings.
We are so busy trying to keep up with the news about the virus, the infected, how not to get infected, the doctors and nurses in the front line, the hope for a cure, the financial impact and the end of the lockdown, but we never stop to think about those 1100 people and their families.
Every year the “The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders” organises a series of events to commemorate the International Peace day on the 21st of September.
In 2017 I was invited to take part in one of these activities by creating a 4 x 2 meters painting that was colored along with the people visiting the activity. The large painting was later donated to the museum.
For 2019 I received an email from “The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders” inviting me to submit designs for the “Nanjing • City of Peace” Philatelic International Design Competition” a series of postal stamp that will be produced under the theme Nanjing City of Peace.
Being a long time habitant of Nanjing I have chosen to work with what I consider are the most relevant icons that represent the city. The first icon I decided to use is the mythical creature called “Pixiu 貔貅” which is considered a protector against the evil entities.
A statue of Pixiu is located at Zhongshan gate and welcomes the people entering the city through the very same gate that during the war saw the first invading troops breaching the city by land.
In my interpretation the Pixiu is holding a white dove, universal symbol of peace, in its lifted paw. Its a representation of the peace and harmony that today reigns in the city of Nanjing, which serves as an example of friendship and good relationships.
For my second submission I used a symbol that represents the city of Nanjing, the plum blossom flower, which we can see present in many places from the subway tokens to many logos and icons across Nanjing.
After the war, the city was gifted with several gardens filled with this magnificent and beautiful tree which flowers represent not only beauty but also endurance, it is today the strongest representation of peace, friendship, fraternity between the two nations that were once at war.
The white dove traditionally carries in its beak a branch of Olive as a representation of peace, in this case, the white dove carries a branch of plum blossoms as a message not only of peace but also fraternity and harmony.
Both compositions were originally hand sketched on the one line drawing technique characteristic of my work, later vectorized and colorized on computer graphic software.
This is a drawing commissioned by my dear friend @arqanaceflores, a Venezuelan architect who’s main area of specialization is accessibility for disable people in urban areas and public spaces. I love to take this kind of work because of the complexity and the challenge it represents, it takes me several hours negotiating with the composition, the technique and the limitations I impose on myself, without compromising the message and legibility.