You might imagine a sculpture titled Original Mother to be an idealized, iconic or exalted representation of the maternal form, but considering what's come to pass on this planet in recent years, any entity aspiring to higher realms of being has had an undeniably challenging time of it.  Original Mother by Gesso Cocteau is no exception, but take a closer look and you'll begin to see that the underlying strength and resilience of her response to life's travails is really quite uplifting, and that an exceptional message is embodied within this work.

Consider her wings, for example, symbolic of the desire to strive for and hopefully to someday rise above, to live an elevated and sanctified life.  They may appear tattered and frayed from repeated attempts to take spiritual flight, to transcend earthly adversity and aspire to higher ideals, only to be pulled back into the morass, but for Original Mother, surrender is not an option, and those wings will never cease to pulse with vigor and vitality.  Though they may temporarily scar, healing and regeneration are imminent; their positive life force is inherent and will not be denied.  Who is immune from the battle and who remains unscathed?  No one.  But do we ever give up?  That is the winged vision here-- that with strength and perseverance, ascendance is inevitable, and that we will one day rejoice in unity and enlightenment.

The promise of this resplendent destiny is evident within her flesh, which at first glance may appear bruised or wounded, but that's not at all the case.  It references rather the surface of the earth, the lands and oceans, the Mother from which all life springs.  The characteristic of materiality is apparent, but only as a starting point, as the source of sustenance for the long hard journey and inexorable progression from rudimentary desires to realms of higher consciousness.  

Look closer and discover her markings-- fundamental forms that appear again and again across cultures and societies since the birth of civilization-- representing an abstract yet universal language understood by all, and epitomizing our blind instinct for survival.  This energy extends the entire length of her spine and culminates at the crest of her head-- the diamond.  Here we glimpse our potential for clarity, ascension and wisdom, this small but brilliant ray of hope symbolized by the most everlasting and enduring matter known to man.  It may not seem like all that much when compared to the totality, but this impervious manifestation of perfection is certain to prevail beyond all.

Indeed, our metaphoric Original Mother has borne witness to so many fractures, such strife and divisions throughout the course of history, that we can easily forget we come from a single seed and are really one and the same.  There she sits, calm and resolute, perhaps in a moment of contemplation, enjoying a brief respite from life's rigors, the two primal aspects of her essence evident in the duality of her expressions, one looking inward as if engaged in the process of harnessing life's very force, the other looking out, meeting our gaze-- resolute and unwavering-- reminding us all to join in the battle, to triumph over our plights, to ultimately become one under her arms and wings that will someday outstretch in infinite expanse and magnificence, destined to envelop and shelter us all. 

Alan Bamberger

Art consultant, advisor and author