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Published on Aug 19, 2011
A visual meditation on sunflowers: growth, decay, fertility the seasons, life's passing. In some sense, this piece was inspired by my daughter, Maya Sophia, and a sunflower which my wife planted in front of our home and with which I fell in love as I began to notice its steady, daily growth, flowering and decay.
Another more distant inspiration or wink was a lingering or surfacing memory of an image from an old silent film, Earth (Zemlya) by the auteur, Alexander Dovzhenko. The scene is of Dovzhenko's young wife, Julia Solntseva, standing near a sunflower (соняшник). The scene has haunted me over the years and has perhaps altered the course of my life. Sonyiashnyk.
When I was a young man in graduate school at NYU, I ran into a friend whom I had not seen since childhood. He recounted an anecdote regarding Dovzhenko as we reminisced near Washington Square Park in front of Bobst library. My friend recounted that after Stalin's death, Dovzhenko returned from exile to head Kyiv Studios. As can be imagined, there was much trepidation regarding his return fand the changing of the guard - what would the old master now avenge. Dovzhenko's gesture on the morning of his return was to gather everyone together outside. In front of the studio, he dug new ground and with everyone's help planted young apple seedlings. I remember my old friend looking me in the eye and winking, "that tells you something". In some distant way this video also has affinity with those remarks.