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The Phoenix

Flashe (acrylic vinyl) painting on canvas 
Diptych - 1230 x 1030mm each. 1230 x 2090mm together.
Size includes modern black wooden frame, 2017

Contact us to inquire about the original

Limited edition print available - scroll down and click 'add to cart'

"The Phoenix" is part of Sofia Minson's Sacred Mirrors Exhibition open 13 - 27th June 2017 at Parnell Gallery, all are welcome!

Sofia Minson Artist with Takahe painting The Phoenix

The Takahē was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1948. Their population is still vulnerable. Here our unique, flightless Takahē is the phoenix, the bird that came back from the dead.

The phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its previous self.  

The diamond pattern in the background and the gold designs in the beak and feathers are inspired by Maori Tukutuku and Taaniko designs as well as Hindu and Buddhist art.

Almost every culture has a version of the phoenix that teaches about transformation, longevity and renewal.

The phoenix symbolises rebirth. To plunge into the underworld of death, creativity and chaos and re-emerge with something of value is the ultimate heroic act. Value is metaphorical gold.  And that is why I painted the entire background of this painting with luminous, metallic gold.

Artists, inventors, mathematicians and scientists often report that their inspiration comes from a mysterious place. Perhaps this place is the subconscious mind.  Perhaps it is the muse.  Perhaps it is the flow state. Perhaps it is a psychedelic realm they’ve encountered through plant medicines or meditation.

These are various names for the unknown source of new ideas that the phoenix has to go and visit every now and then. The dark, female yin element is the womb of all creativity.

I have used black, in an almost silhouette-like manner on the body of the bird. This signifies the ashes and underworld, from which the phoenix emerges.

A healthy rebirth is when you experience the dark mysterious realm, perhaps even within yourself, and you come back to the light as a fully integrated human being.  Integrated means you have allowed this new knowledge to filter in. You have become more powerful and wise as a consequence.  

Cultural Symbols

The ancient Egyptian version of the phoenix was called Bennu. It was associated with the sun cyclically rising and setting. The gold background in this work also represents the flames of Raa, the sun.

The legend of the phoenix was a symbol of Christ in the Middle Ages. Because of its ability to die and come back to life it signified resurrection.  Just as Christ died on the cross and returned from death in three days.

The message in myths from around the world is that it is far better to voluntarily face Kali or Hine-nui-te-po or the dragon of chaos. They are the goddesses of death, change and the underworld. Despite their fearsome appearance, they help you to remove the veil of ignorance from your eyes.  In small ways we can choose to let pieces of our ego shell fall away and die. They will be replaced with richer experience and wisdom. This is the act of the phoenix.

The wisest people I know all transmit the same message - that if we want to change the world, start by transforming ourselves. Any truth we see out there means there is an even tougher truth to swallow about ourselves.  The same capacity for loving kindness as well as malevolence is inside of us. The phoenix constantly discards its old attachments and renews itself. It never stops evolving and neither should we.  

Limited Edition Print

Limited edition of 95 signed prints available on matte paper of museum archival quality called hahnemuhle photo rag 308gsm. The two parts of "The Phoenix" artwork sit side-by-side on the same paper with a thin gap in between them. Together, the overall image size is 493mm high x 820mm wide surrounded by an unprinted white border.  

In this example, the framer has covered the white areas of the paper with a black cardboard matting.

The Phoenix Takahe limited edition print framed

Shipping is FREE within NZ and $35 everywhere else (prices are NZD).  Unframed print arrives sealed in protective tube or sleeve.

Click here to contact us if you have questions

Sofia Minson Oil Paintings | New Zealand Artwork