Monday, May 24, 2010

Kublai Khan and his Nurse/Early Memory

Detail

And in its final setting.

Kublai Khan's nurse saw his future greatness in the flame of the evening lamp when she came to put him to bed. At the end of his life, though, it was the recollection of her appearance with the lamp each evening rather than his achievements which brought the great Khan comfort.

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I have a theory that first memories are frequently of light, I know mine is of being carried by my parents with a light-up Santa Claus pinned to my red coat. And yours?
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As long as we're talking early memories, this is a post from awhile back on feltbug.

24 comments:

Fiona said...

I have an early memory of my mother lighting t-light nightlights in my bedroom when I was in my cot.

Charles Gramlich said...

My first memory is of a football bouncing off the tin roof of our house. There was no particular light source other than the sun, but there is light reflected on the roof and the ball.

Cláudia said...

My first memory is of the sunshine entering in my room. I was waking up and realized I had a body. I thought about my parents in the next room and remembered there was a bottle of Coke in the kitchen. All of a sudden I knew I existed and other things existed too, although I couldn't see them all the time. I was very young, about two and a half.

Fresca said...

Oh, dear.
I'm no help with your theory.
My first memory is of killing baby ducks when I was two... (We lived on the edge of town that year.)

I kept picking up and handing them to my mother, who finally impressed upon me that I was strangling them
(I remember her showing me she was throwing them in the trash can.)
I felt terrible!

Shayna Prentice said...

Hi Susan~ I love this work of art you created - and so sweet about Khan's recollections of his nurse and how important she was to him. In regard to light memories ... I remember being a small girl and my mom gave me a vitamin e capsule sometimes. I liked to chew it, have it burst open in my mouth because to me it tasted like what light looked like to me - so every time I chewed one I told myself that I was eating liquid sunshine.

N_Straight said...

Wow this is beautiful.

Eva said...

What a great piece! A little altar. The proper frame for precious memories.
My earliest memories are light coming through a window with a cross, light like batting; warm air moving in waves over a round coal stove. I must have been younger than half a year, because then we moved into a house that had neither a window cross nor round stoves.

justdoodleit said...

Nice...Kublai Khan always reminds me of Xanadu and makes me wonder what if such fictional paradises were to really exist.

Steve said...

My earliest memory is of being sat on my mum's lap in a confortingly dim room looking up at the window at the bright blue sky beyond and feeling totally safe and happily uncurious.

ArtSparker said...

This is always so thrilling, when people write an amazing communal post. I love reading these.

Fresca, sorry google won't let me print your comment- Fresca had a somewhat different childhood memory, with echoes of "Of Mice and Men".

California Girl said...

hard to say what I remember and what I've heard and merely think I remember.

True memory of being 3 of 4 and rolling down the driveway in a car. I had climbed into my godmother's car, let out the parking brake and, as the driveway was steeply pitched, the car rolled down and across the street into a neighbor's tree.

Titus said...

This Kublai Khan series is turning out to be a stunner.

I think mine must be the yellow plastic potty at our house in Romford, and sitting on it watching the life-story of the trout and salmon, which was a bizarre public information/National Geographic-esque type film which was endlessly repeated during the afternoon, when there were no actual programmes on. I can still remember the final line, "And a rainbow is born" and the exact intonation and accent.
Does yellow and the television (black and white) count as light...?

steve said...

The Feltbug post is hilarious. Your work is superb here Susan. Early memories include drawing with a big blue crayon and listening to eight-track cassette tapes playing in our big brown station wagon, en route to see the grandparents.

Celeste Bergin said...

oh my --this is so good! the drawing--whoa! I love the robes, the hats--all of it. so textural! AND the fabric/felt--wow! I love it wholeheartedly.

My first memory (don't know what age--young young) is of a catholic nun in one of those magnificent black and white habits. It was night and I had been taken to the Catholic hospital because I couldn't stop upchucking. I had a big towel in my lap in case I upchucked again. I was in a wheelchair and she stopped to feel my brow...and I was in total awe of her and didn't ruin the moment by upchucking. I thought she was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen in all my life and I've been dressing like her ever since. lol

Celeste Bergin said...

p.s. my nun was indeed bathed in yellow light from those 50's overhead lighting systems. I thought she was an angel.

Kylie said...

I love reading all those early memory posts, mine is meat the age of 2 looking back at my mum in the front yard as I decided to take off to visit Grandma around the corner (unknown to my mum) with vegemite toast and teddy in hand. I knew where I was going!
Beautiful work!

donny* said...

wow! excellent piece.

Laura said...

i think you are right about the light, i have a distinct memory about the light in my parents bedroom. beautiful work, as always.

Emma J said...

I love the fabric framing - have you seen The Weeping Camel (film about a Mongolian family living in a yurt) - this fabric reminds me of their gorgeous textiles.

My first memory is the coldness of the screen door that I held it open for my mother to carry in my new brother home from the hospital.

And then a red ball bouncing away, bouncing back from the ivied red-brick wall.

Not light, but somehow -

The Poetry Bus said...

I remember being born and thinking, Janey Mac! I don't like the look of this place.

I still don't.

Fine picture, but is that not a bag of exploding french fries yer wan is giving to him?

jude said...

nice textile setting

Margaret said...

Kublai Khan!
It's a beauty!

My first memory is of red.
The red on my dress matching the red on the car-seat lining.

Tomás Serrano said...

His hat reminds me of the Wiliam Van Alen Chrysler´s disguise...

Valerianna said...

Wow, I just stumbled upon your blog and am "taken" by the fabric-framed drawing... lovely!