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Portraits in the hospital

The project “Angels as Models” started as a creative accident. Children in Oncology department of Children's Clinical University Hospital were often too tired and weak to participate in evening art workshops. Nevertheless they were bright and inteligent personalities so I asked hazardly if they would like to engage in art process in a passive way, as models. It demanded a certain level of mutual trust and acquiantance, as it was a question most people never hear in their lives. The experience of becoming a portrait model in an old-fashioned way of painting and observing requires the utmost luxury of our age: time. The tragic and fortunate coincidence of reality in Oncology department is that nobody has anywhere to hurry. Treatments are long and exhausting so everyone is forced to slow down.

The occurrence of model-artists relationship can be linked to an ancient tantric practice of eye gazing which can be adjusted as respectful attentiveness, benevolent contemplation of other person. The artist respects and distinguishes emotional and physical traits with admiration and care while depicting it. It can help at moments when the model feels insecure or depressed about his/her appearance. It serves as a tangible proof of person's outer and inner beauty because it is perceived and captured on paper. The long and painstaking painting process itself serves as proof of worthiness of a model: children and teenagers in their darkest hours receive an evidence of their value and beauty as human beings. “Do you see what I see?” I ask, while the model ponders at the drawing. Their beauty goes beyond lost hair and changed appearances.