Jana - Goddess of Past and Future


Terra Cotta
22” H x 13” W x 9" D

About the Piece

Upon returning from India in November of 2005 I felt very out of sorts for many months.  I just couldn’t quite get my bearings.  I felt displaced and missed India like my home.  I felt very much in between stages of my life.  I felt on a profound level like I was leaving one stage of my life and getting ready to enter another.  I was questioning a lot of my life and often felt like the ground underneath me had shifted profoundly and I was trying to make sense of things.   Also, I was not able to make art for almost a year after returning from India.  It was very unsettling and painful for me.

My identity and creative expression is rooted in sculpture.  I found myself packing up many of the items in my studio and was quite sure I would not be making sculpture again.  Gratefully, I did return to my studio and this sculpture, Jana, was the piece that broke my visual silence.  As with many of my previous pieces I did not have a plan for the piece.

I just started pushing clay around on the stand in the later part of 2006.  All I knew was that I wanted to make a very large face.  I was about half way the piece and a friend visiting my studio in January of 2007 commented that the piece looked like the Goddess Jana.  It suddenly dawned on me that this piece perfectly reflected the space I had been in for the past year.

The Goddess Jana looks behind her to the passing year, and forward to the upcoming year, just as I had been doing since my return from India.  Even before I knew that I had been sculpting Jana all along, I was very certain that the “front” of the piece would be what most people would consider as the side of the piece and that the two faces of the women would be seen in profile.  The face on the left stares back on the past with a look of contemplative rest, the other looks to the right gazes towards the future with and engaged and intense stare.  

My mother, the person most in tune with my work, noticed that the gaze on the face looking into the future seemed unfocused.  I was going to change the gaze so that it was more focused.  However, mom suggested that I keep it unfocused because we can never properly focus on the future.  And so, the side of Jana that looks towards the future has the wide eyed, unfocused look as she boldly faces the uncertain future.