How many pearls it takes to be happy…

2010 | Oil on canvas | 75 x 80 cm

“How many pearls it takes to be happy…” shows an approximately ten-year-old girl sitting by herself at a table, fully absorbed in what she is doing. She is threading white pearls to make a necklace. From the string of pearls in the foreground, which seems to be falling out of the frame, the viewer’s gaze is led to the girl. The seemingly peaceful picture of an intact children’s world is disrupted and thrown into question by the used ashtray set on the table at the very edge of the frame.
The painting is in muted colours, evoking thus the loneliness of children condemned to grow up in an environment shaped by violence. In order to survive, these girls* and boys* create their own strategies: in rare moments of – psychological or physical – freedom, they collect and closely guard positive, life-affirming experiences like little treasures: pearls of happiness.”

Author: Heike Pich


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