Hope your heart is lighter than a feather.

“And I’m worser than they worst, they make a nigga live forever
Flock with them birds, my heart stay lighter than a feather.” - Smino

When I started working on this piece, I didn’t go into it thinking it would be a statement on death. I was merely trying to practice color theory, using monochromatic tones and harmonious colors to play as support. But isn’t that how it usually is? Thoughts and ideas start to come to the forefront as you are in the act of creating. Reflecting and examining. And to be honest, the concept of death is never to far from my mind, especially with the past events of the last few years.

The lyric at the beginning is from  Noname’s “Shadow Man”, track 10 on her album Telefone. It features Saba and Smino providing additional verses, with Phoelix on the chorus (and producer along with Cam O’bi). In each verse, we hear these emcees pondering over their prospective deaths and funerals, imaging them as grandiose occasions but somber nevertheless. 

I remember going for a walk to clear my head and this song came on in the shuffle. I’ve heard it multiple times before but there was just something about that line from Smino that resonated with me. In it, he’s making a reference to a belief of ancient Egyptians about the afterlife. Once one dies and passes on to the next realm, they have to face the trials of Osiris before being able to move on to the Field of Reeds. One trial is that the heart of the individual must be weighted against a feather of the goddess, Ma’at. The feather is a symbol for truth and justice and the heart records all of the deeds done by that person in their life. This trial was used to determine if a person lived a righteous life and should be rewarded or punished accordingly.  I probably played that song on repeat for the remainder of my walk just reflecting on that and my life choices. Wondering if I’ve been an ethical person. Questioning if I’ve been an upright individual while existing on this blue sphere. I would like to think so but my view of myself is a bias one. 

Though it’s an abstraction, I see this painting depicting a funeral, or rather after the funeral once the casket has been placed 6 feet deep. The rectangle at the bottom is a casket with the multi-colored brushstrokes representing one’s essence ascending to the next phase, what that might be. The circle can seen as either the sun or as a portal. And the two lines are there to represent balance.

I think we all hope that in the end we did some good during our time here. Being remember fondly by those who remain, who loved us. Which is why I chose the title for this piece. Hoping that our hearts are light when we pass on. 

“How do you remember me?” 

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