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Back to Being
Oil on Italian linen (diptych)
210cmx 140cm e.a

Mother-Earth is nature and clearly embedded in all that exists, but what about Mother-Love? If love had a face, it would be of an innocent quirky little girl, wondrous of all the possibilities to emerge and transform from the unexpected and unexplainable sweetness and joy that drives life itself blooming from within or the wariness to go without.  In the same way as sweet as life  emerging from the darkness, the subject emerges with a striped singlet, ribbons, lollies and fairy floss recalling Marie Antoinette’s symbols of innocuousness as a form of protest and expression of identity in current times.

Back to Being - Solo Show Series

Back to Being is an exhibition of new paintings by Julian Clavijo. This series is an introspection on the interconnectedness between humans and all other living creatures, especially the current endangered species of animals and the imaginary ones that might evolve when we are no longer here.
According to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, as of 2023, up to 150 species become extinct every single day. That is as much as 10% of our whole biodiversity in a decade. The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. This means that unlike the previous 5 mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge is one for which a single species—ours—appears to be almost wholly responsible, and at an incredibly rapid pace. What does this mean for the future of humanity and for the planet? As evidence shows, the planet regenerates and life thrives over and over again. New species are born and the ecosystem finds its balance through the immaculate laws of time. But what about humans? Why do we live in this social-consumerist, self-destructive system detached from what intrinsically keeps us alive?
An understanding that we don’t pass the planet to our children, but rather we borrow it from them, is at the core of this exhibition. Clavijo has created a series of portraits of children who heroically come forward to watch and protect what is intrinsically our own nature and come to call it their own. Back to Being is a body of work dedicated to our species; a hopeful stance of a generation, to reject the self-destructive way of living and embrace how all animals are our spirit and we are theirs: the extinct species that, because of us, are gone, the species that are still here, and the ones to come.


Can I go out and play yet?
Oil on Canvas  
185cmx 185cm 

Painted during the 260+ days of lockdown in Melbourne, Australia. 
For children, 2 years of pandemic feels like (or it maybe is) a lifetime, where they had to be hiding at home because out there is an “invisible monster that attacks (and kills) people” (quote by my cousin’s daughter, age 4). No school time, no friends, no family, no biscuits with grandma, no birthday party this year, no birthday party next year, no runs to the playground, no ice cream truck, no street games, no cinema, no sting by a bee, no road trip, no camping, no stepping on dog poo, no beach days, no mud eating, no sandpit castles… sports? games? Play? no friends, again.
The world became a screen.Living in this way, the world can become dark, especially the internal world. When all we know of life suddenly gets taken away… I’m not a parent, but, how do you explain that to a little kid why they are locked down with so many prohibitions for so long? How do you explain that to an older kid? A teenager? When the exploration of the world, relationships and interactions and discovery are some of the most crucial aspects of the wholesome development as a healthy human being? This painting is the portrait of these times, the portrait of the 260+ days patiently waiting for the “invisible monster” to go away, raincoat and boots on-and-all ready to go out to play. Can I go out to play yet? Roses bloomed and died, and bloomed again, and died again. There he sits and awaits day after day, month after month, eating the biscuits that grandma sent him, sitting on the old chair in the fatigued darkness staring at the light… the light from a window where he can see the world standing still? Or is it the light of another flick on the screen…?