‘Urns of 2020 – Rising from the Ashes’ exhibition, 10-21 December 2020

Carla-Filipe-Gaffa-Gallery exhibition

Urns of 2020 brings together 30 urns, 30 artists and 30 charities. Each artist was given a plain white cremation urn and asked to create a piece of art that commemorates what “Rising from the Ashes” means to them. Each artist shared their message of hope, inspiration and creativity on their urn.

The exhibition is the brainchild of Liz Amalfi, from Ionica, a family-run wholesale company that imports coffins from Italy since 1990. During a COVID clean-up in their warehouse Liz discovered some funeral urns her late father had imported from Italy many years ago that had never been used.

URNS of 2020 is about honouring the year that was. A year of grief, loss, and adversity on a global scale. With the new year approaching, may we all ‘Rise from the Ashes’, to bring messages of hope, peace, unity and remembrance.

All urns will be silently auctioned throughout the exhibition with 100% of proceeds going to the charity of the artist’s choice.

‍Link to the silent auction: www.airauctioneer.com/urnsof2020

Liz approached me to paint an urn in response to my interpretation of the events of 2020. Below is my response.

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year like no other. From the devastation of the Australian bushfires, to a global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, it is fair to say, we have all been transformed in one way or another.

For me personally, 2020 was about losing an important person in my life.

My 99 year old grandmother had a bad fall in February this year, just as the pandemic was announced. She broke her femur bone and due to her age, she was in hospital all alone, for 10 weeks, waiting to be operated on.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a week after the operation, the doctors informed my family in Portugal, she had caught Covid-19.

Three weeks later, miraculously, she was home and Covid free. Her spirits were high, and she was so happy to be reunited with her family. We were all amazed at her resilience, optimism and determination.

Her story even made it to the local newspaper, with a half page article detailing what she had endured.

She continued to improve in the coming months, and we were feeling very confident she would reach her 100th birthday in November.

So, when Liz approached me to be part of the Urns of 2020 exhibition I was extremely excited and honoured. My plan was that I was going to explore the soul journey as it releases from the denseness of the physical body, through colour and fluid form.

Urns of 2020 exhibition at Gaffa gallery
Urns of 2020 – Rising from the ashes‘ exhibition at Gaffa Gallery, 10-21 December 2020, Sydney, Australia.

A week into the process of painting my urn, we got the sad news that granny had passed away, on All Souls Day, a week shy of celebrating her 100th birthday – a day she and the rest of us were so looking forward to.

She died of heart and lung issues, complications that, we feel, were Covid related. Interestingly, my dad informed me that my great grand mother had passed away too from the last pandemic of 1920, of the Spanish Flu, when my grandmother was only 8 months old.

Between the day she died until the 7th November – I was in my studio painting rather madly. I felt her presence and love very strongly around me, as I cried and channeled my sadness, gratitude and love into this urn.

As I’ve shared with Liz, I strongly believe that my grandmother’s spirit along with the higher powers that be, orchestrated that I be involved in this exhibition. Since I couldn’t go to her funeral in Portugal, this was the closest and most meaningful way I could receive closure from her passing. It was her parting gift to me.

A Borboleta the butterfly Carla Filipe 2020
‘A Borboleta (the butterfly)’  mixed media on metal, 2020. © Carla Filipe 2020

My finished urn has obviously taken on a new meaning. The butterfly motif, being an universal symbol to represent the soul, honours my grandmother’s essence, her exuberance for life and her light and gentle energy.

My urn is a celebration of new life, love, faith and represents hope for a bright new beginning, not only for my grandmother’s spirit, but in this pivotal time, for all of humanity.

In loving memory of Amélia de Jesus Simões (7/11/1920 – 31/10/2020)

If you would like to commission me to paint a funerary urn please fill out the contact form in the contact section of this site.

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