The last three years for me have involved quite a lot of personal loss. In the midst of that loss, I was caught by a news story in May of last year about the mass death of 60,000 critically endangered Saiga antelope in Kazakhstan. The image accompanying the story was one of a field littered with dead antelope, mothers and babies and males, stretching on into the horizon. All had died within the span of two days. To this day, scientists aren't certain why.
The work, entitled Amor Fati, is composed of six antelope skulls cast in wax progressively 'melting' into the wall ending with just the tip of the horns and a ‘final breath’ in gold. The name itself, meaning “the love of fate” comes from the writings of Nietzsche who said, “I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.”
The work is a deeply personal meditation on my own experience of loss. It’s an attempt to connect to the universal experience of death and grief. It’s a move to understand the larger upheaval encompassed in the current privation of the planet in which I find myself. It’s a reaching to understand the most skillful way to hold space for the things I cannot control. What can be done? What should I do? Is acceptance and turning away the only path to happiness? Should I fight? Should I try to understand? When all that is left to do is stand by and watch the worst come to pass, should I simply accept my fate and try to find meaning in the loss? What is the answer to suffering?