Graveyard scene/the beauty and sadness of bones (2014–15)
Graveyard scene/the beauty and sadness of bones 2014–15
synthetic polymer paint on linen
Geelong contemporary art prize (winner), 2016
© Kate Beynon/Copyright Agency, 2020
Graveyard scene/the beauty and sadness of bones is based on a scene from An-Li: a Chinese ghost tale, the artist’s re-telling of a supernatural story of two young spirits who traverse opposing worlds: one aquatic, the other earthly.
Beynon depicts the spectral form of An-Li as he makes a nocturnal visit to his grieving mother. Gravestones include inscriptions for ‘heart’—combining characters for ‘spirit’ and ‘gate’—and ‘river-spirit’, symbolising An-Li’s fatal fall into the river. Additional imagery such as the broom and surrounding hybrid animal/human skeletal figures—one of which seeks to comfort the woman—emphasises the cycle of life and death. While the hand emerging from the lotus refers to Kwan Yin/Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, who reaches out to those suffering in the world and oversees their path to healing.