Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My childhood, books and Ophelia.

When I was little, I loved leafing through books. Picture books, coffee table books and whatever my little arms could lift. I didn't really understand most of it, since they were too difficult for my age but I loved looking at all the pictures.

My family didn't have a lot when my brother and I were growing up so we spent a lot of time at home and at our aunt's place. My aunt's place didn't have toys or a lot of children friendly books. My aunt and uncle had fancy coffee table books. They had books on tropical fish, islands around the world, flowers, animals, art etc. I remember my favourite book at their place, was a book of records. It was mostly trivia from the 90s and before, on top ten of everything.

And what captivated me from that book ever since, was the painting of Ophelia. I remember it to this day.

I was too little to know the painting's name. I just Googled for "painting lady floating in water" because that was how I remembered it. I guess it wasn't the most normal pick for a child since it was a painting of a dead lady floating.

There is something about the painting which fascinates me. Her expression. Her hands. What happened to her?

The details to Ophelia, the flowers, her floating dress and the moss by the river bank are astounding. You could tell the river stream was calm and Ophelia was not struggling. She looked at peace, and went along with where the river took her.

For some reason, it reminded me of the moment we float on water (in the pool, sea and tub). The water would be a cool relief, and the weightlessness would made you feel as if you were not there. You would stare at the sky and the passing clouds (or ceiling) as hours go by.

Wow I wanna go to the pool right now.

Ophelia is currently held in the Tate Britain, London.

Photos from

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