Friday, August 27, 2010

llustration Friday! "Immovable"

The topic for "I.F." this week is immovable, and I am submitting a piece I did a bit ago that I believe is on theme (and, admittedly, very depressing-- but I would like to believe there is a happy ending, off-page, somewhere for these characters. I may draw it to rectify the scene here.)

This piece is titled, "The Betrayer's Burden." The piece's title/P.O.V. is from the girl seated to the far left.

I would say that many things are "immovable." A person's religious and cultural viewpoints, for many intents and purposes, are likely to never change. Sexuality can be "immovable" in the very same way-- personally, I believe that people are born whatever way they are, and that a person as he or she is, is how things should be. I suppose that's an "immovable" standpoint of mine, that many people have just as "immovable" an opposite opinion of. The effects of what government control can do to people, if not immovable, can last for centuries. Some people will stop at nothing to fight for their relationship, fight for their beliefs, or fight for, or about, anything at all. I think people like this all have an "immovable" quality to them. Maybe "stubborn" would also be a good word.

Or, being "immovable" can simply mean unable to move. Which I'd say is the case for the character (the daughter figure) in the piece. On a literal level, should she move to intervene, to at least protect her Mother from having hot tea poured on her? I personally think yes, no question. However, she's frozen in her tracks-- be that because she is shocked, because she is too fearful to do the right thing, because she is caught in the middle of two people she loves, or that she is turning her back on her family, herself, and the rest of who she is, I think is open to interpretation.

This piece was originally going to be a piece about two people in an unapproved-of relationship rebelling against a suppressive parent figure. I don't even remember why I changed it, but once I peppered certain accessories around the picture (a stuffed beefeater bear and an elephant, Ganesh in a picture watching none too impressed, etc.) changed it to a relationship between a presumably British girl and an Indian girl, with the British girl being cruel towards the older woman, it got A) A lot heavier, B) No longer a piece where someone would more readily identify with the two younger girls, C) One where you'd probably feel bad for the Mom, and D) Possibly an allegory also about countries, and not just people.

I personally think the daughter character is betraying herself and her parent--hence the title, partially.

But I also came up with the title based on the famous Rudyard Kipling poem, "The White Man's Burden."

I'm thankful for Kipling, seeing as he created "Rikki Tikki Tavi" and "The Jungle Book"--and without that, the cartoon adaptations of those stories would have never have existed (I loved Chuck Jones' "Rikki Tikki Tavi" when really little, and am still obsessed with Disney's "The Jungle Book" today--"Bear Necessities?" MARCHING ELEPHANTS?! "HUP, TWO, THREE FOUR"--*ahem* I'm calm, I promise).

However, I find his poem, "The White Man's Burden," extremely choice . For anyone reading this who don't know me, I use that phrase sarcastically-- i.e., not to describe "choice cuts" that taste good from a fancy deli, but to criticize unfortunate people, behavior, etc. , as in: "Despite the fact that I truly do not care for his former mother-in-law to be, I find Levi Johnston's behavior extremely choice."

There is somewhat of an argument that the poem is all satirical... which, I'd like to believe. Unfortunately, I doubt this, and think he may have felt a true "burden" in "having to colonize people," like so many Imperialists of the time. And even if he meant it to be a satire, it failed-- much like the "New Yorker" cover of Barack and Michele Obama (which is pretty well-known, but here should anyone want to see: Both Kipling's poem, and that cover, have been defended as "obviously" mocking extreme world views. Unfortunately, many people take things literally, and use said interpretations as reasons to back up their behavior, thoughts, etc., and not always for good. In the case of Kipling's poem, many people took it word for word, finding that it perfectly defended racist and Eurocentric views, Imperialism itself, etc.

But anyway, that poem is controversial, famous, and the poet himself lived and grew up in India. Which is what partially gave me the impetus to make the title of my piece a reference to it.

As for my above drawing, I feel that it relates mostly to the Indian girl who is betraying her family (as I said), as well as herself and her culture. But, as I said, I'd like to make a piece where there are no such burdens, she and the Mom are happy, and as it's 2010, it would be nice if the other girl was there too, and everyone was happy together.

You can always draw things true even if they aren't always in real life, right? That's why I like pictures and storytelling. Authors and illustrators can make anything come true on a page.

In any event, despite this novel of a post (and I apologize for the downbeat content), I hope everyone has a great weekend!

To see this at the site, and for more I.F. "Immovable" entries (many of which are far cheerier than mine, I promise), please go to And also, check out last week's very cool submissions for "Atmosphere."

Yay for I.F.!

Ten four, signing off ;-)

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