“Every twilight is double, aurora and evening. This formidable chrysalis which is called the universe shivers eternally in feeling, at the same time, the agonizing caterpillar and the butterfly reawakening ”, Victor Hugo.
The butterfly belongs to the lepidoptera invertebrates species; its life cycle consists of four phases: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult. What men call “butterfly”, cherishing its colors and lightness and dedicating it poetic verses, is the organism that develops in the last phase. Within the common and literary language, the butterfly has become a metaphor of pure and fleeting beauty, of vanishing joy, and of innocent love. Such a small insect can embody indomitable feelings like melancholy and passion, and universal meanings like rebirth and transformation. Therefore, the butterfly possesses a powerful symbology. Power can be seen as strength, a quality underestimated when praising the butterfly’s beauty. The concept of strength can be variously interpreted —is the physical or moral strength more remarkable? Why do we call a man “strong”, and why do we call so a woman? Do we need more strength to lift 140kg, like the Olympic champion Paul Edward Anderson did, or do we need more strength to work in an hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic, in 12 hours shifts and no possibility to drink or eat, like nurse Melanie Arciega did at the Seattle Medical Center? The global crisis related to the pandemic lead us to reconsider the concept of strength —being strong can mean to be able to resist to fear, to keep fighting for life, to keep believing in humanity. Being strong means being able to bend into the confined space of our house and into the limited social freedoms without braking. Strength is Resilience.
The life cycle of some species of butterflies is shorter than 24 hours: 24 hours to explore a small corner of the world, to coupling, and to nourish themselves enough to accomplish the last imminent wings flap. Strength can also mean being able of channeling our life expectations within the brief time-lapse of one single day. Because the uncertain historical moment requires to re-address our life choices to the immediate present we need to look at the next 24 hours as “our world”, just like butterflies do. As the philosopher Rabindranath Tangore wrote: “The butterfly doesn’t count the years, but the instants: for this reason its time is enough for her”. We can’t go back in time and our own projection in the future is blurry, but the present moment is still a valid possibility for experiencing will and growth.
This artwork commemorates the human soul’s intrinsic strength existing regardless of sex, age, body size and physical health, applied to the daily dimension. Getting inspiration from the life cycle of butterflies and from their powerful symbology, 24 hours represents the immediate present not only as a circumstance of mere existence, but as a possibility for self-realization.