Icarus Underwater

Icarus Underwater

J.N. Nucifera

My art practice has heavily focused on attempting to inspire empathy - or, in the broadest sense, temporary shifts perspective. I find that one of the greatest barriers to modern social issues stems from an inability to empathize with others and understand or value their perspective. As a result, I have attempted to use my work to force these considerations, asking viewers to pause for a moment and consider how small contextual changes - such as where a person grew up - would result in a fundamentally different viewpoint.

This work is a 6ft x 3 ft tapestry (acrylic on unstretched canvas), with an accompanying poem displayed alongside it. It is part of a body of work where I created pieces, all in this format and scale, investigating the analogues between Greco-Roman heroes or villains and modern people suffering from mental illness. In this case, I was looking at the story of Icarus, a warning against hubris, and transforming the narrative by exploring what happens if he is underwater attempting to breach the surface. With that small change, the story becomes about the struggle of depression and achieving a sense of normalcy.

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