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David G. Wilson
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Metamorphosis

Pablo Picasso was the master of metamorphosis. It is the ability of living organisms to transform itself to another form, as a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.

What sets Picasso apart from other artists is his capacity to change, his love to constantly transform his art by changing his style of painting. Over his life time, his portraits revealed Picasso’s complicated character. Picasso felt that his art was a visual representation of his inner mind, his heart and his soul.

Through his self-portraits we follow along in his thinking, his exploration of his inner life and the evolution of his boundless capacity for creation and transformation.

He painted these autobiographical portraits at 15, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 91 years of age.

Picasso’s self-portraits are visualizations that depict his inner changes, a metamorphosis our inner identities all go through.

Our personal identity has been a challenge for neuroscientist to find in the structure of our brain. They suspect our identity lies in the traffic of brain activity. But we know it is there, our identity is the sum of our experiences and memory, our actions and reactions, our plans and hopes.

The search for meaning and a sense of self begins to develop in early childhood, but it is during adolescence that the umbilical cord is cut from the authorities that set decision-making and behaviour-setting. This separation allows us to explore and experience more spontaneous, authentic expressions, developing a sense of identity; a distinctiveness and consistency in the way we behave, a personality. It is what we ought to find, when ‘finding’ ourselves.

We continually search for this operating system, through experiences of life, through making difficult decisions.

It is through the difficult life challenges of illness, loss, grief that test and shape our mettle, our internal guidance system. If everything goes right, we develop positive feelings of self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth, self-love.

This internal guidance system is powered with a clear sense of self that results in a relaxed secure existence. A feeling of security that makes us open to new ideas, to be able to tackle difficult situations deliberately, to face rejection, wounded but not shattered because the integrity of our selves remain intact.

This relaxed existence removes the compulsion to prove to others our abilities and worth because it is securely established within us.

We live in a world increasingly dominated by the virtual, the fake, and the artificial. We are also becoming a society of spectators pacified by distractions. Our periphery world is rapidly changing and we are distracted by the cacophony of noise, rather than let it render us passive, we need to actively seek out our personal authenticity. 

Our identity is hard to define or measure, it is constantly changing, it is a work in progress.  The paradox is that how we handle the swirling distractions in our periphery world, solidifies the core of our inner world.

The ways in which we live our lives, makes us who we are. 
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All the Art in London
Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art in the U.K. challenges film maker Alex Gorosh to see all the art in London in one day.
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