Rediscovering the Overlooked: Janis Sweeney Paints the Promise to Return

Recently my paintings have been based on objects that are lost in the human tendency to live for the future.  These objects are everyday objects around us but are hardly noticed as we go through our busy lives.  They are varied, serendipitously found and generally rooted in everyday life.  The purpose of my work is to engage the viewer in a rediscovery of the unintentionally overlooked.  I involve myself in intensive visual study and using drawings and photographs I record my subjects, patterns and compositions.  These references become the starting point for exploring the possibilities of the piece.  My intent is to take something that is uninteresting and often overlooked and, using judgments in composition, color and abstraction, invite investigation and curiosity.

The Lucchetti d’ Amore (Locks of Love) of Florence according to local history and tradition is a custom that was started by young men leaving their home town to go to war.  They attached a lock to the Ponte Vecchio bridge before their departure as a promise to return home, essentially a promise to survive the war.

Lovers evolved the tradition, the locks representing a symbol of their eternal love and the act of throwing the key into the Arno River the symbol of the unbreakable bonds of their union.  The couples write their names with a felt-tipped pen on one side of the lock and add the date of their passage through Florence on the other side.

Today, tourists have adapted the ritual and attach padlocks to the Ponte Vecchio to document the joy of their visit to Florence, their love of the Italian people and culture, and the unbreakable promise to return.

Janis Sweeney, “Lucchetti di Amore (Locks of Love), Pg. 15

So to Speak Summer 2011 Online Issue featuring poetry and art

 

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