Des Jones - Art - Historical Mythical Abstract - Sacrifice - CN8

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Notes on an acrylic painting 56 x 41in
By Desmond Jones, June 1994

The painting may be viewed as if you were the victim of an ancient Aztec sacrificial ritual, tearing out your living heart as a "chosen one", who will immediately become immortal and sit as "one" with the gods. The purpose of the sacrifice is to ensure that the sun will continue in its place at the centre of our universe and the giver of all things. In ancient folklore, the sun never rose for hundreds of years and the world was cold, dark and unproductive.

You see all this at the moment of your death; the dark edges of the painting symbolising oblivion closing in.

The figure depicts an Aztec priest, plumed with the feathers of the Quetzal bird. Contained within his form is the female, which likewise sacrifices herself to the production of offspring. Grasped in his right hand is an obsidian knife, which I call the agony and the ecstasy, representing both phallic and destructive metamorphosis. In his left hand he holds the still beating heart, offering it to the sun, which also doubles for the womb receiving the fertilised foetus.

From the sun motif streams the "River of Life" turning from drops* of blood into new life, growing and ripening into the world, as we know it, and at the same time representing a life's journey, growing with achievement and wealth according to our destiny.

The action is taking place on the pyramid of the sun, looking over to the pyramid of the moon (Teotihuacan). These are used as examples to symbolise the secular aspect of life and the fact that all religions demand sacrifice and atonement as part of the mystery, magic and tragedy of life; never so more apparent than in the present, with the only ray of hope being love.

* The droplets are represented as circles, the way Aztecs depict them as raindrops falling and producing a circular ripple.
NOTE from Des' daughter: Interesting that the shape also looks a bit like a representation of the shape of the haemoglobin molecule, being donut shaped.

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