As a new intern at Maryland Federation of Art, I’m trying to learn as much as possible about galleries/communications/art. While working on a few projects, I glanced over and saw this beautiful piece.
Rebel, Rebel by David Allen Harris speaks to me in multitudes; who am I by myself, who am I in this world, and how can I learn to be at peace with this?
The subject of this piece is clear, and yet not in the forefront of the picture. They rest behind tall and healthy sunflowers, basking in the sun with them. What intrigues me is that this individual, in their idleness, is responding to the sun. Their expression is of understanding, confidence, and tranquility. What’s rebellious about this?
Well, I remember coming home from school a few years back to a single flower on the table and a box of chocolates, with a handwritten note by my dad. He wrote, I love you baby and was trying to catch some sleep before his second shift. My dad loves me and sacrifices a lot so that I can go to college and start up my life differently than he did. Admittedly, his expectations and hopes for me feel like a ton of pressure, being that I am struggling to find my feet and start my life up independently. The list of things I need to do and things I want to do are endless and foreboding. It would just be easier if I hid and stayed quiet instead of continuing the roller-coaster that is adulthood.
This is exactly why Rebel, Rebel is an important piece of art; The individual in the photograph is not fading away in the sunflowers, nor are they beneath the sunflowers in an attempt to escape being the subject. For this individual, it is a rebellious act to be themselves and to stand tall, healthy, and strong alongside the sunflowers. They are naturally their own person.
Being the subject of your own life does not mean you are the only thing in the frame to focus on. It also doesn’t mean that being yourself is as easy as it may appear in others around you. It is a process of struggle, perseverance, confidence, and purpose.
If being yourself means rebelliously standing for who you are in spite of the pressures of the outside world, then close your eyes and feel the sun on your face.
Grow, become, be you.