Protector gods or benevolent kings guard the entrances of various temples in Japan. The imposing sculptures are positioned there to ward off evil spirits. If I were the latter and came across these commanding sentinels, I would definitely turn around "pronto". The guardians are forceful, intimidating, and brim with life, as do gargoyles and other creatures contrived to battle our  fears. 

What makes art beautiful or ugly? Umberto Eco's book "On Ugliness" unveils an assortment of fascinating images that ostensibly fall into the "ugly" category. 

In primary school, I spent a lot of time in the library flipping through art books. One of my favourite paintings was by Domenico Ghirlandaio entitled "An old man and his Grandson".  In this image, the grandfather's nose is deformed but the grandson isn't repulsed by it.  He looks at his grandfather with intense affection and it quickly becomes apparent that this man possesses great beauty of character. Art is a powerful teacher.  

Preconceived ideas about what is beautiful and what is not can lead to self-censorship and ultimately hinder creativity and visual communication. 

Some viewers are taken off guard (needing protector gods perhaps?) by these two charcoal self portraits of mine where I fuse images of ancient sculptures with parts of my face and body. 


I have merely become a crumbling benevolent queen who smiles through it all! Beauty is relative.