Sylvie Riches (SOLD)

Empty Bowl, 2021

22 cm
Through this work, Sylvie uses ceramics to externalise her inner feelings. Empty Bowl is essentially a work about change. Clay itself is the perfect medium to refer to change as it is worked and shaped while in a malleable state and then turned into a petrified form. As children, we get shaped by our upbringing, our experiences and environment which contributes to the kind of adult we become. Empty Bowl is also about taking ownership and control of ourselves as we are the vessels of our lives. How we fill the bowl is the future we create. Sylvie used the bowl to symbolise the feminine, the mother, the womb. Her mother left at a young age and she suffered further emotional abuse from her step-mother. The work reflects on the repercussions of this adversity felt in her present life and how these, by manifesting repetitively, lead her to look deep in herself to connect her past with her present in order to create a better future. The spiralling “tunnel” patterns on the surface of the bowl express this deep internal search into her past in order to bring promising changes. The protruding shapes inside the bowl covered by a pink flesh coloured glaze are reminiscent of the maternal breast which sustains the life of the newborn. The repetition of those shapes is associated with her constant yearning for maternal love. However, the flowers are a symbol of hope and rebirth. The work brings questions. Is it the empty bowl that was delivered to the child with the absence of maternal love? Or is it an empty bowl that may hold potential and the promise to be filled such as the first flowers of spring bring the first sight of renewal? Empty Bowl also intends to make each of us question the way we are filling our bowls. What do we feed our families, environments and societies?
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